Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Thomas J. Ward, Jr.


The purpose of this descriptive investigation was to study the reactions of women, specifically women who were seeking pregnancy counseling, to the psychological and psychosocial impact of HIV antibody testing. A questionnaire was developed that surveyed women on HIV knowledge, behaviors associated with HIV infection, and locus of control issues related to the disease. Additionally, questions regarding the stigma and discrimination associated with the disease were posed that may have acted as barriers to taking the HIV antibody test. Finally, supplemental questions related to HIV and the issue of abortion were also presented.;The sample for this research consisted entirely of women who were new or returning clients of Planned Parenthood. Four sites from Planned Parenthood in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia were utilized. One hundred and four women completed the survey. The ages of women sampled ranged from 12 to above 50. Median age range for this sample was 21-25 years of age. Other demographic information presented a composite of mostly white, lower socioeconomic status, high school to college educated women.;Eighty four women indicated that they would take the HIV antibody test; twelve indicated that they would decline taking it. However, many of the women who said that they would take the HIV antibody test had not taken the test at the time the survey was conducted. It was concluded that the majority of women had sufficient knowledge regarding the disease, although over half of the women surveyed did not know that HIV could be spread by an HIV infected mother who breast feed her newborn. A majority of women also demonstrated an internal locus of control with regards to HIV infection. Using a Likert Scale, ninety-six women answered the question posed about HIV infection as it pertained to the option of abortion. Twenty-one women (21.8%) strongly agreed to aborting their fetus if they were HIV infected, while seventeen participants (17.7%) agreed. However, forty-three women (44.7%) were uncertain as to their decision to abort their fetus; seven women (7.2%) disagreed and eight (8.3%) strongly disagreed to having an abortion as a result of being infected with HIV.;Further study is needed in this area which would demonstrate a more diversified sample of women in order to increase the external validity of the findings of this study. as research into the disease continues to divulge new methodologies for using established drugs to combat HIV, such as the preliminary revelation that AZT significantly cuts the risk of HIV transmission from mother to fetus, questions arise that deal with new psychological consequences and conflicts for the female population.



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