A qualitative study of the sexuality of women living in a homeless shelter / Kimberly Deanne Acquaviva.

Acquaviva, Kimberly Deanne.
viii, 134 p. : ill. ; 29 cm.
Local subjects:
Penn dissertations -- Education.
Education -- Penn dissertations.
The purposes of this research---to discover the ways in which women living in a homeless shelter understand and experience their sexuality, and to produce a theory explaining the ways in which women living in a homeless shelter's cultural meanings and beliefs regarding sex and sexuality might inform their sexual behavior---were achieved through six months of ethnographic research spent in residence at a homeless shelter, and the subsequent analysis of the data. The cultural meanings ascribed to sex and sexuality by women living in a homeless shelter may affect their risk of acquiring Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) because they: (1) believe trust (and faith in God) protects them from sexually transmitted infections, (2) are afraid of seeking information about HIV/AIDS out of a fear they will be stigmatized as having the disease, (3) are reluctant to ask a man to use a condom, (4) believe they can tell if a man has HIV by his skin (clear vs. broken out), (5) use sex to get cash, though they do not frame this as "prostitution," (6) seem to have a high rate of nonconsensual sex, (7) often engage in unsafe sexual behavior while under the influence of drugs/alcohol, and (8) believe that HIV/AIDS was transmissible through sharing a cigarette, drinking from the same glass, etc, so they believe protecting themselves during sex is futile. The Acquaviva Theory of Psycho-Sexual Fatalism posits that a connection may exist between negative sexual and emotional experiences and the development of fatalism and the ultimate abdication of personal responsibility for the future, thus placing women living in a homeless shelter at additional risk of HIV/STI's and unplanned pregnancy.
Adviser: Kenneth D. George.
Thesis (Ph.D. in Education) -- University of Pennsylvania, 2000.
Includes bibliographical references.
Local notes:
University Microfilms order no.: 99-65431.
George, Kenneth D., advisor.
University of Pennsylvania.
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