Exploring HIV concern in a population of Dominican American women midlife and older

Odlum, Michelle; Black, Danielle; Yoon, Sunmoo; Maher, Cassidy; Lawrence, Steven; Osborne, Jennel

The feminization and ethnic diversification of HIV infection, has resulted in a call for gender- and culture-specific prevention strategies for at-risk groups including Latinos in the United States. The steadily changing demographic profile of the AIDS epidemic challenges prevention strategies to remain relevant and up-to-date, particularly in populations of women midlife and older where an understanding of risk remains under explored. As the CDC requests country-specific HIV risk profiles for Latino communities in the US, understanding the socio-economic, behavioral and personal risk reasons of HIV risk for older Dominican women is critical for prevention.

We conducted focus group discussions informed by the Theory of Gender and Power (TGP). The three constructs of the TGP: 1) Affective influences/social norms; 2) Gender-specific norms and.
3) Power and Authority guided the thematic analysis and identified themes that described the socio-cultural and contextual reasons that that contribute to perceptions of HIV risk.

Sixty Dominican American women ages 57–73 participated in our focus group discussions. Sexual Division of Labour: 1) Economic Dependence; 2) Financial Need and 3) Education and Empowerment. Sexual Division of Power: 4) HIV Risk and 5) Relationship Dynamics. Cathexis: Affective Influences/Social Norms: 6) HIV/AIDS Knowledge and 7) Prevention and Testing. Importantly, participants were concerned about partner fidelity when visiting the Dominican Republic, as the country accounts for the second highest HIV rates in the Caribbean.

Our results confirm previous findings about perceptions of HIV risk and provide additional insight into aging-related aspects of HIV risk for Latino women midlife and older.


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BMC Public Health

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December 20, 2022


Latino women, HIV risk, Aging, gender and power, Dominican Republic