Factors That Prohibit Women’s Access to HIV/AIDS Testing, Counseling, and Other Services in the State of Vermont: A Case Study of Women in Windham County

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Larissa Snorek-Yates


Although HIV/AIDS and gender equality issues figure highly in many Vermont state policy documents and implementation plans in the field of health, women have less access to HIV testing, counseling, education, and referral services. It is therefore no surprise that HIV/AIDS infection among women is currently increasing at a higher rate than among men, as indicated by the Vermont integrated epidemiological profile for HIV/AIDS prevention and care planning in 2008. The findings and recommendations in this report reveal that women in Vermont are not accessing HIV services as expected. Using a case study method and purposive sampling, the researcher collected qualitative data on the factors prohibiting women’s access to HIV services, using open-ended questions in both one-on-one interviews and focus group discussions. Discussions were conducted in a natural setting in order to provide participants with a free atmosphere to think about the research question. A variety of reactions marked by social, economic, and psychological issues and criticisms revealed more information then expected about HIV/AIDS among women. The analysis of data provided results indicating that women’s access to HIV services, though of high quality, has not been significantly researched or addressed. The primary research question was: What factors prohibit women’s access to HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, and other services? All participants were women who are natives of Vermont, representing the existing racial diversity. This study revealed that the inadequate public awareness of HIV/AIDS is a key factor leading, among others, to many prohibiting women’s access to HIV services. There is a need for Vermont to look into mainstreaming HIV/AIDS education.


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health Education and Promotion

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