Diagnosis and Stigma and identity amongst HIV positive Black Africans living in the UK

Back to documents list

Sunday 1st January 2006

Individual in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 30 HIV positive Black Africans were conducted in London, UK.

Individual in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 30 HIV positive Black Africans were conducted in London, UK. The interviews focused upon experiential accounts of living with HIV. The interviews were transcribed and analysed for recurrent themes using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The social context of being a Black African living in the UK emerged as an important framework within which the experience of being HIV positive was positioned. In terms of people's accounts of their own experiences of living with HIV, diagnosis figured as an important moment in people's lives.

The majority of participants were surprised and upset upon receiving their positive antibody test results. Many reported a period of depression and social isolation. Stigma and prejudice associated with HIV also emerged as a major force shaping the daily lives of the participants. We discuss the role of identity and social context in disrupting the medical meaning of diagnostic tests.

Article available to purchase at:
Informaworld