A team of researchers, including Dr. Janet Turan, professor, Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, characterized the potential benefits and risks of participating in a microenterprise program targeting low-income women living with HIV (WLWH) in Alabama; and described potential mechanisms through which microenterprise programs could influence sexual risk behaviors and engagement in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) care.
Fourteen stakeholders and 46 WLWH (89 percent African American) participated in the qualitative study. Data were collected using in-depth interviews (stakeholders) and focus group discussions (WLWH). NVivo qualitative software was used for the management and analysis of the data. The data revealed four main mechanisms through which microenterprise programs could potentially improve health outcomes: (1) social support and encouragement from other women, (2) improvement in self-esteem, (3) creating structure in the women’s lives, and (4) financial strengthening. Potential risks included unwanted disclosure of HV status, stigma and loss of insurance benefits.
The authors concluded that microenterprise programs have the potential to be acceptable and may contribute to improved health and social outcomes among low-income WLWH in Alabama.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on October 18