The Lived Experience of Zimbabwean Women Being Diagnosed and Living with HIV/AIDS
Gona, Clara Mashinya. “The Lived Experience of Zimbabwean Women Being Diagnosed and Living with HIV/AIDS”, Boston College, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3762.
The purpose of this study was to explore the Zimbabwean women's experiences of being diagnosed and living with HIV/AIDS on a daily basis. This phenomenological study used the van Manen (1984, 1997) method of phenomenological inquiry and approach to phenomenological analysis to uncover the women's experiences and meaning of being diagnosed and living with HIV/AIDS. Seventeen HIV positive women participating in a development of antiretroviral therapies (DART) clinical trial in Harare, Zimbabwe, were recruited through snowball sampling and by word of mouth were interviewed. The study revealed that women experienced the dread of living with suspicion prior to a confirmed HIV diagnosis, pain and suffering when diagnosed, renewal and rebirth from the effects of antiretroviral medications and DART clinical trial while simultaneously experiencing the burden of living with HIV/AIDS. With time the women came to terms with their HIV positive statuses, and used their experiences to help others. The themes living with suspicion of HIV/AIDS and sensing the engulfing anguish of HIV/AIDS were found to be the core essence of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The themes knowing the restorative power of antiretroviral medications, the heavy burden of HIV, and finding meaning in being HIV positive were found to be the core essence of living with HIV/AIDS on a daily basis. The findings inform health care providers on the trauma and suffering of being diagnosed and living with HIV/AIDS, and the benefits of antiretroviral medications. These study findings have significant implications for Zimbabwean nurses and other health care personnel committed to improving the lives of women, their families and their communities.