Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Gomez, W., Flentje, A., Schustack, A., Ramirez-Forcier, J., Andrews, B.M., Dilworth, S.E., Riley, E.D., Curotto, A., & Carrico, A.W. (2016). Navigating barriers to vocational rehabilitation for HIV-positive persons. AIDS and Behavior, 20 1132-1142.
Title:  Navigating barriers to vocational rehabilitation for HIV-positive persons
Authors:  Gomez, W., Flentje, A., Schustack, A., Ramirez-Forcier, J., Andrews, B.M., Dilworth, S.E., Riley, E.D., Curotto, A., & Carrico, A.W.
Year:  2016
Journal/Publication:  AIDS and Behavior
Publisher:  Springer
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Yes

Structured abstract:

Background:  Individuals with HIV face barriers to obtaining employment such as perceived stigma in the workplace, concern with anticipated work-related stress, and fear of losing SSI/SSDI benefits due to increased income. Employment has been identified as being supportive of overall health outcomes for individuals who are HIV-positive.
Purpose:  This community-based participatory research project presents the results of implementing the Positive Resource Center, a client-centered vocational rehabilitation program for individuals who are HIV-positive in pursuit of employment.
Setting:  Vocational Rehabilitation program
Study sample:  There were 108 participants in the sample for the quantitative analysis, with 22 participating in in-depth interviews as well. All had diagnoses of HIV-positive and 67 individuals were receiving SSI/SSDI at the time of enrollment. The sample contained 89% male and 8% female; 45% Caucasian, 19% Hispanic/Latino, 16% African American, 19% multicultural or "other", 1% Asian/Pacific Islander. Additionally, 84% of participants had completed at least some college.
Intervention:  Following an assessment of the individual's unique skills and challenges, the Positive Resource Center Employment Services Program provides HIV-positive individuals with individual and group VR counseling, computer skills training, and assistance with job searching. Following obtained employment, individuals maintain contact with VR services for a period of 6 months.
Findings:  Significant quantitative findings include: participants reported lower personal and financial barriers to employment following this intervention. Additionally, participants experienced increased likelihood of being employed at least part-time. Qualitative results identify the following barriers to employment associated with SSI/SSDI recipients: difficulty accessing social service agencies, fear of loss benefits, social stigma associated with diagnosis as well as asking for help, and health-related limitations.
Conclusions:  Vocational rehabilitation services for this population are indicated because of the increased likelihood of employment that these participants experienced as a result of their involvement. A deeper look into the structural barriers which exist for this population and how VR can support consumers, is warranted.

Disabilities served:  HIV / AIDS
Populations served:  Persons with multiple disabilities (e.g., deaf-blindness, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse)
SSI and SSDI recipients
Interventions:  Job search and placement assistance
Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Return to work