Jailhouse theater program helps women disclose HIV status

July 11, 2014 - SFGate.

by Erin Allday

UCSF doctors have teamed with artists from the Medea Project - a jailhouse theater program for women designed to reduce recidivism rates - to help women disclose to their partners and family members that they have HIV.

The point, in turn, is to improve their support network and overall quality of life.

The troupe of HIV-positive women creates and performs theater productions about their HIV status and the long histories of trauma, substance abuse and mental illness that often co-exist with HIV infection.

The idea to have the Medea Project work with women who are not in jail came from Dr. Edward Machtinger, director of the women's HIV program at UCSF. He had recognized for years that while he and his colleagues had a strong arsenal of drugs to treat the virus, they weren't doing nearly enough for their patients to address the severe, even debilitating effects of trauma that affect so many women who have HIV. Continue reading…

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