Survey Finds Community Support and Education are Key to Improving Health Outcomes and Well-Being of Women Living with HIV

Submitted on Dec 2, 2019



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Jenna R. Conley

The Well Project Launches Together We Are…Making an Impact, its 2018-2019 Survey Report

December 2, 2019 - Brooklyn, NY. The Well Project, a non-profit organization working to change the course of the HIV pandemic though a unique and comprehensive focus on women, today announced the launch of its survey report, Together We Are…Making an Impact. This comprehensive analysis provides insights into the experiences of women living with HIV (inclusive of cisgender and transgender women) and the effect of the organization's programming. The Well Project is releasing the report today in conjunction with World AIDS Day (December 1st).

"In order for us to truly impact women's lives, it is crucial that we continually assess the factors that aid their progress toward achieving optimal health and well-being and those that pose the biggest barriers," said Krista Martel, executive director of The Well Project. "Women's lived experiences inform everything we do: ensuring that our programming is effective, identifying unmet need, and educating us about where we may have room to grow."

The survey illustrates the need for the HIV community to expand notions of optimal outcomes beyond viral suppression to include measures of broader health and quality of life. Nearly all participating women living with HIV were engaged in HIV care, taking effective HIV medications, and experiencing viral suppression. However, they also faced high levels of stigma, violence and trauma, and behavioral health issues, all of which complicated their ability to manage their overall health.

The survey also demonstrates the ways in which The Well Project's resources and community address many of the challenges reported by women living with HIV.

Together We Are…Making an Impact shows that The Well Project strongly increases knowledge and engagement in care, self-care, outlook on living with HIV, connecting women to one another, and helping them develop advocacy skills. Together, these efforts support women living with HIV in improving their health outcomes and well-being.

"This survey shows what I know to be true as a woman living with HIV who is strongly engaged with The Well Project," said Masonia Traylor, community advisory board member for The Well Project. "The Well Project's resources have been extremely successful in connecting women to each other both online and in their communities. It also can help women develop their advocacy skills and advance their leadership, as it has my own. I'm excited about how progressive this organization is about women in the fight for their lives and others impacted by HIV/AIDS."

There remain numerous opportunities to improve the lives of women living with HIV. The Well Project is committed to addressing the gaps highlighted in Together We Are…Making an Impact, including:

  • Implementing educational programs to reduce stigma experienced by women living with HIV in healthcare settings and their personal lives
  • Normalizing mental and behavioral health issues, including current or past violence and trauma, and encouraging women living with HIV to seek the care they need
  • Emphasizing the need for education for healthcare providers about the stigma-reducing messages of U=U
  • Driving research on and increasing attention to the numerous issues around living with HIV over the long-term (including comorbidities)
  • Continuing to promote opportunities for women living with HIV to connect with one another

About the Survey

Together We Are…Making an Impact on Education, Connection, and Advocacy for Health Outcomes and Well-Being Among Women Living with HIV measured factors influencing the lives of women living with HIV and the impact of The Well Project's online resources on their: engagement with healthcare, HIV-related self-care, outlook on living with HIV, community connection, and advocacy. The final sample included 239 respondents. Of these, 157 (66%) self-identified as women living with HIV—both cis and trans. As women living with HIV are the primary constituency of The Well Project, the majority of the analysis in this report focuses on them. The survey was developed by The Well Project staff, consultants, community advisory board members, and select members of the board of directors.

About The Well Project

The Well Project is a non-profit organization whose mission is to change the course of the HIV/AIDS pandemic though a unique and comprehensive focus on women and girls. We envision a world in which women living with or vulnerable to HIV have the information, support, and tools they need to advocate for their health and well-being and live a life free from stigma. The Well Project leverages technology to dramatically improve health outcomes and quality of life for women living with HIV.

Together, we can change the tide of the HIV epidemic…one woman at a time.

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