Doyal, L., & Anderson, J. (2005). ‘‘My fear is to fall in love again’ How HIV-positive African women survive in London’. Social Science & Medicine, 60, pp. 1729–1738

A decade ago studies increasingly documented the circumstances of people living with HIV around the world, particularly about the experiences of women in the hyper endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, very few researchers had examined the lives of female African migrants living with HIV in the UK.

This article considered 62 women from different parts of Africa receiving treatment from NHS clinics in London based on a qualitative study carried out between 2001 and 2002 using semi-structured interviews. The findings explored the ways in which the women’s lives are shaped in complex ways by their sex and gender, by their status as migrants and by their seropositivity. It examined the nature of their survival strategies, focusing mainly on the management of information, the use of health services and the importance of spirituality in their lives.

The authors highlighted the paradox whereby these women have access to treatment that would be unavailable in their own countries but their survival depends on them remaining in a country which few regard as ‘home’.