Experiences of African immigrant women living with HIV in the U.K.: implications for health professionals
In the U.K. immigrant women from Africa constitute an increasingly large proportion of newly diagnosed cases of HIV. A significant minority of these are refugees and asylum seekers. Very little is known about their experiences of living with HIV/AIDS, their psychosocial needs or their views of health care provision. This paper reports the results of a qualitative study that explored these issues by interviewing eight African women living with HIV in the British city of Nottingham. Women’s ability to live positively with HIV was found to be strongly shaped by their migration history, their legal status, their experience of AIDS-related stigma and their Christian faith. Significantly, health services were represented as a safe social space, and were highly valued as a source of advice and support. The findings indicate that non-judgemental, personalised health care plays a key role in encouraging migrant African women to access psychosocial support and appropriate HIV services.