Celebrating the feminine spirit: retreat as an intervention to enhance the quality of life for marginaled women living with HIV/AIDS
R.M. Bramble Weed1, D. Restrepo2
1Positive Life Program, Jackson Heights, United States, 2St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital Center, Infectious Disease, New York, United States
Issues: Undocumented inner-city immigrant women face
the fear of deportation, poverty, and language
barriers, limiting the access to not only medical resources but especially
leisure-like social activities further
deteriorating their quality of life. The WHOQOL supports that leisure activity
represents a key element in quality of life.
In the United
States 27% of HIV/AIDS new cases are women. In 2006, the
HIV diagnosis rate for black females (56.2) was more than 19 times the rate for
white females (2.9). The rate for Hispanic women was 15.1, more than 5 times that
for white females. Queens, NY is an epicenter for immigrants and women of Latin
American, Caribbean and African descent.*1
annual retreat is offered to 40 women living with HIV in the suburbs
outside New York City. This supportive environment breaks the
isolation and stigma associated with the diagnosis of HIV/AIDS.
Yoga, expressive art and music activities as well as gender
specific medical updates, medication side effects, disease progression,
menopause and sexuality, clinical trials resources are provided in a relaxed,
informal setting. This approach puts women at ease offering a safe place to
address intimidating issues in a respectful, non judgmental environment. The
health information is offered in English & Spanish by an HIV/AIDS and
women's health provider.
Lessons learned: Pre and Post surveys distributed as part of
the day's activities to evaluate
emotional and physical health and perception of disease. Post activity
surveys reflect positive attitude and overall sense of well being after just
one day of leisure.
Next steps: QOL measures to assess the impact of Spiritual and
Recreational retreats for marginalized women living with HIV/AIDS should be
considered when allocating funds for social programs.
*1[ CDC. HIV/AIDS Surveillance
Report, 2006. Vol. 18. Atlanta: US
Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2008.
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