HIV-infected Women's Perspectives on the Use of the Internet for Social Support: A Potential Role for Online Group-based Interventions

Oni J. Blackstock, Pooja A. Shah, Lorlette J. Haughton, Keith J. Horvath, Chinazo O. Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


While the development and implementation of HIV-related online interventions has expanded, few have been tailored for women or have leveraged Web 2.0's capabilities to provide social support. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 27 women with HIV at an urban community health center to understand their perspectives on the potential role of the Internet and the use of an online group format to provide social support. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. We identified six themes: a need for groups and increased sense of connectedness, convenience and accessibility, trust as a precondition for participating, online groups as a potential facilitator or barrier to expression, limited digital access and literacy, and privacy concerns. Overall, women were highly supportive of online group-based interventions but acknowledged the need for increased digital access and Internet navigation training. Hybrid (in-person and online) interventions may be most useful for women with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-419
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) K23MH102129 , K24DA036955 , NIH R25DA023021 , and the Center for AIDS Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center (NIH AI-51519). The funding source had no role in the study design; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; writing of the report; or decision to submit the article for publication. The authors thank the members of the Montefiore-Einstein Division of General Internal Medicine Qualitative Research Affinity Group for their thoughtful feedback on the study design, analysis, and manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.


  • HIV
  • Internet
  • Intervention
  • Online
  • Women


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