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Title: Delayed HIV testing in HIV-positive sub-Saharan Africans
Author: Howells, Jessica
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 1652
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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There is evidence that some sub-Saharan African individuals suspect that they are HIV positive before diagnosis but delay being tested for HIV. This increases the likelihood of being diagnosed late (with a severely compromised immune system), a phenomenon that has been observed in sub-Saharan Africans diagnosed in the UK. Late diagnosis has negative personal and public health consequences. There is a lack of understanding of the psychological processes associated with delayed HIV-testing. This study used a Grounded Theory methodology. It aimed to produce a theoretical model to explain the psychological processes associated with delayed HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africans in the UK but also how these processes changed over time and contributed to the decision to test. Seven HIV-positive sub-Saharan African individuals from a London HIV clinic and one from a HIV charity were interviewed about their experiences. Analysis led to the development of a theoretical model of delayed HIV testing. This model consisted of three theoretical codes: moving in and out of uncertainty about HIV infection; preferring not to know HIV status; and making the decision to test for HIV. Participants' HIV risk perception fluctuated and was characterised by uncertainty. This, in combination with a preference to not know their HIV status due to a number of feared consequences of being HIV-positive, deterred them from testing. Participants' thoughts and feelings about knowing their HIV status changed over time. These changes were that they: wanted certainty, had hope of being HIV-negative and/or a hope for treatment and life and preparing for and accepting a potentially positive result. The findings can inform interventions to reduce delayed testing and suggest: a) intervening with ambivalence on an individual level and b) promoting awareness of HIV c) promoting the benefits of testing/costs of not testing at a population level. The findings are discussed in relation to existing research and theory. Strengths and limitations of the study are discussed, as are clinical implications and suggestions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HIV ; HIV-Positive ; Saharan ; Africans ; sub-Saharan Africans ; diagnosis ; HIV testing