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HIV Treatment Compliance and Social Support


This research focuses on the way HIV treatment compliance is influenced by social support among African American women with HIV. This paper reveals some background information about the issue (statistics about HIV prevalence, risk factors, and justification for the study). It will focus on the sample represented by African American women with HIV. Inclusion and exclusion criteria, sample size, and recruitment peculiarities are discussed. Finally, selection bias and the ways to minimalize it are mentioned.

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Today, the issue of HIV is rather critical all over the world. Many people are diagnosed with it every year and even more cases remain unnoticed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of the population affected by this virus is represented by African Americans. It was indicated that these people constitute about 13% of the US population, which is a relatively small number of individuals (Galvan, Davis, Banks, & Bing, 2008). Even though today, professionals believe that the most affected population is gay people and men, in particular, women accounted for about 63% of all HIV cases in 2005 (Edwards, 2006). However, the number of African American women with HIV does not reduce greatly so that this issue could be considered to be solved and ignored. Two years ago, almost 45% of African Americans were diagnosed with HIV. It comprises 12% of the whole US population, which means that the number of cases has reduced only by 1% during almost 10 years (CDC, 2016). Even though African American women comprise only 26% of all cases, this number remains extremely high in comparison to females of other races (CDC, 2016). Regardless of all improvements, African Americans represent almost a half of all new HIV cases in the USA (CDC, 2016). This issue is difficult to resolve because it is sexually transmitted, and African Americans tend to have partners of the same ethnicity. They also lack awareness of their status so that they do not have any reasons to consult a doctor. The poor socioeconomic condition prevents them from requiring treatment due to its cost. Stigma and discrimination discourage testing (CDC, 2016).

Target Population and Sample Size

Description of Target Population and Sample

The sample gathered for this research will consist of African American women. Inclusion criteria deal with age (25-40 years), participation in social service agencies (the place to recruit them), and positive HIV test (diagnosis made by a doctor). Exclusion criteria focus on age (younger than 25 and older than 40), additional critical healthcare issues that can affect treatment and require substantial expenditures, and experiencing only of those symptoms and complications that can be mistakenly associated with HIV, such as venous thromboembolism that can be caused by long-distance travel (Chandra, Parisini, & Mozaffarian, 2009).

It will be advantageous to utilize convenience sampling strategy. It is a very fast method that does not require a long search for participants, which also means that there is no necessity to maintain long preparations. The nearby population can be easily reached, and the questionnaires can be easily distributed among the participants. In this way, the data can be collected just in several hours, which allows spending more time on its analysis. It is readily available for collection so that there is no necessity to increase research expenses and travel to other locations. Cost effectiveness is rather a critical advantage because the funds for this research are limited (Brodaty et al., 2014).

Taking into consideration the fact that sample is represented by African American women with HIV, it can be stated that this population is hard-to-reach. The thing is that they tend to remain anonymous because of the HIV stigma and fear of other people’s negative attitudes. Thus, following the ideas of Aglipay, Wylie, and Jolly (2015), the leaders of the population will be addressed from the very beginning so that they encourage others to participate when receiving more information about the study. It is also possible to provide the leaders with questionnaires so that they distribute them and bring back without researcher’s involvement. In this way, the targeted population is likely to be more willing to participate.

Sample Size Considerations

The size of a sample for this research can be relatively small because it is focused only on two variables and does not presuppose extreme diversity. Taking into consideration the fact that the similar research study with the same sampling type included 283 participants from three different social service agencies and the one with a purposeful sample had 33 participants, this research should attract about 150 individuals to gather the most objective data.


Recruitment strategy will be utilized when gathering the sample, which will provide an opportunity to collect primary data right from African American women with HIV, which is rather advantageous for research and its value. Following the example of senior professionals, potential participants will be collected at social service agencies with the help of nonprobability methods. Respondent-driven sampling will be used to ensure that participants feel comfortable and remain anonymous. In addition to that, leaders tend to be more likely to agree to participate so that the rest of the population follows their example. The potential participants will be contacted as soon as the research instruments are prepared.

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The data will be collected with the help of written questionnaires. They will be distributed in a printed version and a digital one so that the participants can find the most convenient for them the way to fill them out. It is expected that from the very beginning up to 10 leaders will be contacted, including social service agencies’ personnel. The researcher will address them by a telephone call and ask for an appointment for a face-to-face meeting. Then, the information will be distributed further with their help.

Selection Biases

Unfortunately, it is impossible to claim that there will be no bias during the design and conduct of this study. Some systematic errors often occur and the only thing professionals can do about them is to minimalize them (Szklo & Nieto, 2014). Selection bias deals mainly with the errors in the sampling. These are some statistical mistakes according to which some populations are involved more often than others. Scientists are constantly trying to prevent the occurrence of selection bias so that their research studies become more valuable. Still, it is impossible to analyze the whole reality (Knottnerus & Tugwell, 2014). The fact that this research is focused only on African American women with HIV is rather beneficial in this perspective because it provides an opportunity to reduce the actual number of the larger population significantly. Thus, it can be claimed that the sample selected for the study represents this kind population adequately. As the participants will remain rather diverse, they will meet the overall requirements. Of course, the reality may differ to some degree, but main tendencies can be discussed based on the obtained information.

To minimize selection bias, the population was identified so that the group that represents appropriately can be reached. The researcher will ensure that the exposure of the population is reflected. Questionnaires will make it easy to contribute and the time and location selected for the study will be convenient for the sample. In addition to that, they will have a chance to use printed and digital versions.


Aglipay, M., Wylie, J. L., & Jolly, A. M. (2015). Health research among hard-to-reach people: six degrees of sampling. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 187(15), 1145-1149.

Brodaty, H., Mothakunnel, A., de Vel-Palumbo, M., Ames, D., Ellis, K. A., Reppermund, S.,… Sachdev, P. S. (2014). Influence of population versus convenience sampling on sample characteristics in studies of cognitive aging. Annals of Epidemiology, 24(1), 63-71.

CDC. (2016). HIV among African Americans. Web.

Chandra, D., Parisini, E., & Mozaffarian, D. (2009). Meta-analysis: Travel and risk for venous thromboembolism. Annals of Internal Medicine, 151(3), 180–190.

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Galvan, F., Davis, M., Banks, D., & Bing, E. (2008). HIV Stigma and Social Support among African Americans. AIDS Patient Care STDS, 22(5): 423–436.

Knottnerus, J. A., & Tugwell, P. (2014). Selection-related bias, is an ongoing concern in doing and publishing research. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 67(10), 1057-1058.

Edwards, L. (2006). Perceived social support and HIV/AIDS medication adherence among African American women. Qualitative Health Research, 16(5), 679-91.

Szklo, M., & Nieto, F. J. (2014). Epidemiology: Beyond the basics (3rd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

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