The Effects of a Human Immunodeficiency Virus Diagnosis on the Identities of Black African Women

Prof Doc Thesis

Corker, E. 2019. The Effects of a Human Immunodeficiency Virus Diagnosis on the Identities of Black African Women. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsCorker, E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Black African women make up a significant proportion of the people living with a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the UK and yet they represent an underserved population in terms of research regarding their experiences. Little
is known regarding if and how a HIV diagnosis impacts on the personal and social identities of Black African women and in particular, if this population experience HIV-related self-stigma. This gap may exist due to a lack of acknowledgement regarding how different aspects of identity related to Black
African women living with HIV in the UK interact with public attitudes, along with the political, social and health systems within the UK.
Using a critical realist stance, this research was designed to address this knowledge gap and explore the experiences of a HIV diagnosis on the identities of Black African Women living with HIV in the UK. Photovoice, a participatory
action research method was used to ensure collaboration between the researcher and participants, with a focus on social justice. Participants took photographs that they felt represented their identity, provided a description of
their photographs and took part in a semi-structured interview using Photovoice techniques to explore the strengths and challenges within the sample’s identity.
Five Black African women living with HIV were interviewed. Two women provided two photographs and one woman provided one photograph for use in the research. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Two main themes were identified: ‘retention of self’ and ‘prevalence of outdated
information’. Participants described how holding onto personal values was important for them to retain control of their narrative, in spite of awareness of negative attitudes and social or structural barriers regarding their HIV status.
None of the women internalised the negative stereotypes that they were aware of, regarding their HIV status.
Implications regarding future research, including further considerations of the impact of the intersectionalities of identity are considered, along with clinical and policy implications of the results of this study.

PublisherUniversity of East London
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PrintMay 2019
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Deposited21 Nov 2019
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