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Bates College

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Program Name

China: Health, Environment, and Traditional Chinese Medicine


HIV has transitioned from high-risk populations to the general population through sexual transmission – now the primary mode of transmission in China – and is currently the biggest public health crisis in China. Those who are not directly involved with commercial sex work (CSW) or intravenous drug use (IDU) are now vulnerable to contraction. Han Chinese women, especially young women, are generally more vulnerable to transmission than their male counterparts, both physically and socially, and the virus affects their lives more deeply. Myanmar migrant women are even more vulnerable, as their migrant status leaves them without support structures or protections for their human rights in both their native countries and in China. The aim of this study was to examine the barriers to HIV self-management for these two populations of women living with HIV (WLHIV) in Yunnan and analyze the trends that hinder their ability to manage their disease. The term ‘barriers to health care’ refers to the political socio-economic factors that prevent one to access suitable health care. Likewise, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website, ‘self-management’ can be defined as the management of a chronic condition in order to live life to the fullest. To achieve this aim, fifteen WLHIV (eight Myanmar migrant and seven Han Chinese women) and three healthcare providers were participated in semi structured in-depth interviews in three cities in Yunnan province about the lives of WLHIV, how WLHIV access care, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in general. Facilitators of HIV self-management include permanent resident status, family support after disclosure, learning to live with HIV, and antiretroviral therapy adherence. Barriers to HIV self-management include lack of family support system, stigma, discriminatory hiring policy and practices, physical fatigue, and financial difficulty.


Asian Studies | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | International Public Health | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Public Health



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