• Health-Promoting Lifestyles of Women with HIV Disease

      Carr, Rebecca L.; Department of Physiological and Technological Nursing (1997-04)
      Women are one of the fastest growing risk groups for HIV infection in the United States, but little is known about how women manage the problems and concerns commonly faced by individuals who are HIV positive. HIV disease results in compromised lifestyles for women as they cope with physiological and psychosocial problems that accompany this disease. The purpose of this focused ethnography was to explore health-promoting lifestyles of women with HIV disease. Research questions guiding this study were: 1) What do women with HIV disease believe they can do to enhance and/or maintain their health after diagnosis? and 2) How do women promote and maintain their health and well-being? Purposive sampling was used to obtain nine European American participants between the ages of 27 and 52 years. These participants were recruited from the southeastern United States. Semi-structured interviews and observation participation were used to obtain data. The majority of participants were interviewed three times. Observation participation occurred during interviews, at conferences, and volunteer group meetings attended by the researcher and the participants. Data analysis was concurrent with data collection enabling the researcher to confirm her interpretations with the participants. Three major themes were identified: 1) Reaching out to others, 2) Searching for meaning, and 3) Buying time. These themes constituted a health-promoting lifestyle that enabled women to adjust to the change in their identity from a healthy person to a person with HIV disease. Initially, women focused on restoring their well-being, but later initiated changes to enhance, maintain, and maximize their health.