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Title: Testing HIV positive in pregnancy : a study of women's experience and personal testimony following a positive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) antibody test result during pregnancy
Author: Lingen-Stallard, Andrew
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Midwives recommend antenatal HIV testing in pregnancy for all women. However,limited information is available on the experience of testing HIV positive in pregnancy.This thesis explored women’s experiences of receiving a positive HIV test resultfollowing antenatal screening in United Kingdom (UK). Black Africa women have highlevels of HIV infection in the UK and notably all participants were African in origin.The theoretical basis for the study was hermeneutic phenomenology, proposed byHeidegger (1962) and further guided by van Manen (1990), exploring essence andmeaning of this lived experience. Thirteen women were recruited and participated in asemi-structured interview. Participants were recruited from two NHS sites, several HIVsupport organisations and a national advert, in order to obtain diversity of this livedexperience.The emergent phenomenon is transition and transformation of “being,” as womenintegrated HIV into their lives. As women transformed with the HIV diagnosis theybalanced major themes. The major themes consisted of shock and disbelief; anger andturmoil; loss of old self; stigma and confidentiality issues and acceptance and resilience.Primary and secondary themes included: extreme reaction on being given a diagnosiswith a cultural belief that they would die; disbelief as the result was unexpected;sadness and loss of their old self; turmoil wanting to terminate the pregnancy; isolationfrom significant others; breakdown of their relationship and considering suicide and selfharm. Most reported the pervasiveness of stigma, and how they managed both thisstigma and HIV in their lives; growing resilience was apparent with time. Copingstrategies included keeping HIV “secret” and their child or children becoming the primefocus of life, with less importance on self.This study gives midwives a unique understanding of the complexities for womentesting HIV positive and supports Bonanno (2009) and Kübler Ross’ (1969 & 2005)findings on personal loss. Additionally this study provides a unique insight into thephenomenon of transition and transformation for women who tested positive inpregnancy and explores the factors and impact of testing HIV positive. The impact of anHIV diagnosis is culturally difficult for African women and had major implications andchallenges for their future life. Midwives are crucial in supporting and improving theexperience of women when they test HIV positive.
Supervisor: Furber, Christine; Lavender, Tina Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HIV Positive ; Pregnancy ; Result ; Experience