Research into living with HIV has mainly focused on quality of life and there has been little focus on the adjustment process for people living with HIV. The numbers of African women living with HIV in the UK is growing and yet little is known about the adjustment experiences of these women.
This study explored aspects of positive adjustment to living with HIV among a sample of African women living in London. Transcripts of semi-structured interviews with 12 women were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Two themes emerged from the data: positive changes in coping (positive interpretation of their situation and positive behavioural changes) and positive growth since the HIV diagnosis (changes in the value of life and, changes in goals and opportunities).
While these women acknowledged the negative impact of their diagnosis all participants mentioned changes in health behaviours that helped them have greater wellbeing. Additionally comparing their situation with others better-off and worse-off enhanced self-esteem and helped them view their situation positively.