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Title: HIV positive and treated for cancer : the social context and lived experiences of dual diagnosis and its treatment
Author: Hainsworth, Emma Georgina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7661 1529
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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BACKGROUND: As the number of people living with HIV increases due to the combination of effective treatment and continued HIV incidence, a growing number will experience a cancer diagnosis. This thesis explores patients' experiences of a dual diagnosis of HIV and cancer. METHODS: Three studies were conducted comprising: (i) an analysis of popular discourse about HIV and cancer in free London newspapers from 2012-2017 (ii) semi-structured longitudinal interviews with 17 patients with a dual diagnosis (iii) a focused ethnography of seven participant observations and seven informal interviews with healthcare professionals. FINDINGS: Popular representations of cancer from the newspaper analysis depict it as a condition that could happen to anyone and deserving of sympathy whilst HIV retains negative and stigmatising connotations linking it to social deviance, blame and shame. The interview data revealed two conditions both with a powerful impact. Although HIV could be well managed on simple treatment it wielded an enormous influence over people's lives in the form of felt stigma which meant that individuals were engaged in constant work to manage information and avoid blame and rejection. Cancer could provide an opportunity to share and get support for the first time but its physically debilitating treatment and uncertain outcome caused fear and anxiety which was exacerbated by people's lack of fit with the cancer services. The deeply personal nature of a HIV diagnosis was not well understood by oncology healthcare professionals and not always accommodated within cancer care. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with this dual diagnosis are uniquely vulnerable; a better understanding of their experiences is essential for cancer services to provide good patient centred care.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available