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Title: In sickness and in health : redefining self, community, and health within the illness experience of HIV-positive women in Chennai, India
Author: O'Grady, Caitlin Mariah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 5818
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the evolving nature of the illness experience of HIV-positive women in Chennai as they redefine their concepts of self, community and health in light of their interactions with a local HIV clinic. It is through their ongoing relationships with the other patients and staff members within the Clinic that this thesis examines the state of liminality experienced by participants while they move through the different stages of their illness experience. In particular, their interactions and opinions at each stage of coming to terms with their diagnosis are discussed with regards to the concept of personal agency and the relationship this has to overall health and wellbeing. The thesis has three main areas of concern. The first explores the role that culturally-based stigmas and traditional schemas of women’s positions within the family have in creating specific health-related vulnerabilities among these women. The second area of concern attends to the role of the family and the ability of HIV/AIDS diagnosis to alter the expectations of the sick role among individuals and family members. The experiences of stigma and fear discussed by participants highlight the redefining of what constitutes health and point to a definition of community that is expanded to include Clinic staff and other HIV-positive individuals while maintaining relationships with family and friends wherein HIV status is concealed and denied. The third area of concern continues this theme by exploring the actions of the Clinic staff and their ability to enter this expanded community definition by taking on roles traditionally held by family members while battling against the negative experiences patients have had at other medical facilities. Ultimately, this thesis details the intimate relationships experienced by these individuals and the Clinic staff at the intersection of traditional social values and the modern condition of HIV/AIDS.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available