The Experiences of Older Black African Women Living with HIV in the UK: an IPA Study
Due to the improved availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) life expectancy amongst people living with HIV has drastically increased. Older people, aged 50 and over now make up the fastest growing group of individuals living with HIV in the UK. Despite this little is known about their experiences of ageing with HIV. In addition, further still is known about older Black African women living with HIV in the UK, despite the complexity of their social and political context. This was, therefore, the first study to explore the lived experiences of this underrepresented group of women. The thesis adopted a phenomenological approach to examining how the intersections of older black African women’s identities shaped their experiences of living with HIV in the UK. In addition, it explored the ways in which they coped with the devastating impact HIV appeared to have on their lives. Using interviews with seven women and interpretative phenomenological analysis, the results revealed three master themes. These were ‘Spoilt Identities’, ‘A present without light and a future without hope’ and ‘Escaping the labyrinth of distress and uncertainty’. A detailed account of these master themes is provided. The findings are discussed in relation to existing literature, implications for clinical practice, methodological limitations and suggestions for future research.