Ayana Weekley

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PhD, Feminist Studies, University of Minnesota, 2010
Truman State University
McNair Scholar, 2001
Major: Psychology
Mentor: Dr. Marc Hiller, Associate Professor of Health Management & Policy
Research Topic: Differences in Social Support Networks for Men and Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Differences in Social Support Networks for Men and Women Living with HIV/AIDS
Most research on HIV/AIDS has focused on gay men, including most of the research on social support networks for persons living with HIV/AIDS. However, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of women infected each year is on the rise, with minority women growing most rapidly. As the population of women with HIV/AIDS grows it will be important to identify the positive and negative roles that social networks play in their lives.

Seeking a better understanding of the impact of social support systems on HIV-positive individuals, a comprehensive literature review and qualitative analysis of existing research was conducted. This research attempts to: (1) identify research done on social support and HIV/AIDS in men and women; (2) more conclusively explain what is known about these social support networks; and (3) assess the implications of existing research on women infected with HIV/AIDS and to justify the importance of further outcome studies on the impact of social networks on women infected with this disease.