The Trauma of Being Diagnosed with HIV/AIDS for Zimbabwean Women
Repository Posting Date2012-01-11T10:50:17Z
Author(s)Gona, Clara M.
Author DetailsClara M. Gona, PhD, RN
(41st Biennial Convention) Background: Zimbabwe has among the highest HIV infection rates worldwide, with 1.3 million people, most of them women between 15-49 years living with the disease in 2008. The pandemic has caused crisis level adult morbidity and mortality among the economically-active groups, huge reversals of recent gains in early childhood survival, rapid decrease in population growth, and a relentless rise in the number of orphans. Missing from the Zimbabwean HIV/AIDS literature are the women's voices and experiences of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The purpose of this study was to investigate the experience of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS for Zimbabwean women. Method:�This qualitative phenomenological study used semi-structured interviews to interview seventeen women living with HIV/AIDS. Data was analyzed using the van Manen's method of researching the lived experience (1997).� Findings: Two themes: living with suspicion of HIV/AIDS; and sensing the engulfing anguish of an HIV/AIDS diagnosis were found to be the essence of the women's experiences of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. Conclusions and Implications: Shortly before the women were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, they lived in a state of suspicion as they observed what was happening within and around them. At the time of diagnosis they were thrown into a time- limited condition of anguish prompted by the reality of a possible immature death leaving their children orphaned. The women's anguish was exaggerated by their sense of injustice of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, a condition they felt did not deserve. The findings inform healthcare providers and policymakers on the trauma and suffering the women endured as they were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. These findings emphasize the need for evidence-based pre and post-HIV testing counseling, as well as adequate education and support for health care workers who work with this traumatized population.