Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Simone Salandy


Understanding social support from the context of disabled women living in conditions of extreme poverty may be useful in the development of effective interventions to advocate for and improve their likelihood of engagement in HIV-related treatment services. Thus, the purpose of this cross-sectional survey study was to examine the relationship between social support and treatment seeking among a sample of HIV-positive Kenyan women with physical disabilities. Correlations were examined between an individual’s source of social support (family, friend, significant other), type of social support (appraisal, tangible, self-esteem, belonging), and HIV-related treatment seeking. Age, marital status, income availability, and disability type, were used as control variables when the predictive power of source and type of social support was examined. Descriptive, correlation, and regression analyses did not support the study’s overall hypothesis that social support (source and type) is related to HIV-related treatment seeking. Results showed that those who reported being blind or having a mobility disability were more likely than those that reported being deaf or having other disabilities to report that they sought HIV-related treatment, but they encountered barriers (i.e., financial, transportation) that created uncertainty for how long they would engage in HIV-related treatment. These results may lead to social change by providing information on seeking HIV-related treatment, which can encourage policies that may help those seeking treatment, as well as encourage future research.