Methods: Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 African American women living with HIV/AIDS who are also serving as informal kinship care providers residing in the greater Boston, MA area. Interviews were transcribed verbatim employing a qualitative description (QD) approach (Sandelowski, 2000) and thematic analyses was conducted with the transcripts by two coders using the qualitative analysis software HyperResearch. This inductive approach utilized consensus coding to refine and/or update their processes of interpreting each woman's experiences within a set of categorical groups. In order to organize the vast amount of qualitative data, the researcher used the following data reduction techniques: Each woman served as a unit of analysis, and each category of experiences and behaviors was counted.
Results: The analyses provided descriptive data about why African American women living with HIV/AIDS serving as informal kinship care providers do not access services for caring for their grandchildren, nieces, and/or nephews. Prominent explanations included: (a) stigma behind their HIV/AIDS status, (b) negative perspectives of child welfare services, (c) their resiliency, and (d) strengths in familial and/or community resources.
Conclusions and Implications: This study provides new information for social workers, child welfare workers, and health care providers who serve this population in ways that support and assist their needs. More importantly, it provides the perspective of African American women as both kinship caregivers and persons living with HIV/AIDS. Findings further suggest the relevancy and utility of models of resiliency as a conceptual framework with this population and in social work practice.