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'Ethernichel'—Swimming Against the Flow: Understanding the Unique Needs and Concerns of Widowed and Abandoned Women in Chennai, India

Paul, Sharon/ T. (2012) 'Ethernichel'—Swimming Against the Flow: Understanding the Unique Needs and Concerns of Widowed and Abandoned Women in Chennai, India. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background:The social contexts and roles of women in India, in conjunction with the plight of widows and abandoned women and the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS fosters a difficult lived reality for a growing segment of the population. Care and support measures for those infected with HIV are losing priority but are of public health relevance and importance. Therefore, this study aims to understand the perception of quality of life in combination with needs and concerns of HIV positive women in South India. Qualitative research methods were utilized in order to achieve these aims and provide insight to propose recommendations to affect future public health practice.
Methods: Working closely with World Vision India’s GRACE Program, an evaluation was completed, and the results were subsequently analyzed for this study. Focus group discussions, participant and non-participant observations along with reflection journals were conducted, recorded and analyzed for emerging themes.
Results: The theoretical frameworks utilized resulted in a conceptual model that combines the constructs of two different theories with the unique identity of participants identified as the triple burden. The triple burden consists of being HIV positive, being a woman and being the new head of household. Needs and concerns related to improving quality of life were identified surrounding the particularly the need for housing and financial security, with explicit desire for government housing and specialized livelihood training expressed by participants.
Conclusion: Care and support is an important component of combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Widowed and abandoned women in South India are a forgotten population and it is imperative to improve their quality of life in a multi-pronged manner by tailoring microfinance and livelihood training, endorsing the passage of the HIV/AIDS Bill, and continuing promotion and advocacy of education and awareness around HIV/AIDS and the rights of women and widows.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Paul, Sharon/ T.stp30@pitt.eduSTP30
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGuadamuz, Thomasteg10@pitt.eduTEG10
Committee MemberBurke, Jessicajgburke@pitt.ed
Committee MemberBunker, Clareannecbunker@pitt.eduCBUNKER
Date: 29 June 2012
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 13 April 2012
Approval Date: 29 June 2012
Submission Date: 20 April 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 73
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: India, HIV/AIDS, Women, Care & Support
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2012 18:20
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:57

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  • 'Ethernichel'—Swimming Against the Flow: Understanding the Unique Needs and Concerns of Widowed and Abandoned Women in Chennai, India. (deposited 29 Jun 2012 18:20) [Currently Displayed]


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