The Lived Experiences of black African HIV positive fathers in the UK
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AbstractBackground: HIV has been reconceptualised as a long term chronic health condition due to advances in highly active antiretroviral therapy. Nonetheless it remains a stigmatising and under-recognised condition. One social group that HIV disproportionately affects is the Black African population. However there is a dearth of research into the lived experiences of HIV positive Black African communities in the U.K. specific to parenting. Objectives: This study seeks to explore the lived experience of Black African HIV positive fathers, living in the UK. This is of significance to counselling psychologists because illness representation models typically neglect the interactions of significant others and wider social contexts when conceptualising the impact of illness. Design: This research utilises a qualitative method, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to examine data. IPA is effectual in new and complex areas of study, concerning identity and meaning making. It enables the researcher to acquire an 'insider perspective' into people's cognitive reasoning as well as the social and cultural context surrounding experiences. Method: Six Black African HIV positive fathers were recruited via HIV charities. Participants were requested to attend a 60-90 minute, semi-structured interview and asked questions about their experiences of living with HIV and how it impacts on their role as fathers. Results: Four super-ordinate themes were identified: 1) Responses to HIV diagnosis-the demise of the physical and social self 2) HIV stigma-'they don't realise that anyone can get it' 3) Re-emergence of the self 4) Fatherhood- a changing identity. The results revealed experiences of living with HIV and the impact that this has on their role as fathers. Participants talked about their initial reactions and responses to receiving a diagnosis of HIV, as well as the challenges of living with HIV within their communities and wider society that impacted on their disclosure decisions. The research highlights the significance of HIV support services that helped participants to accept their HIV status. The participants wished to play a key role in the lives of their children. The findings of this study emphasise the importance of incorporating interventions that help black African men to view themselves in a positive light and to foster their parenting role following a diagnosis of HIV. The results of the analysis are considered in light of existing theory and their clinical implications.
DescriptionThesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the post-graduate award of: Practitioner Doctorate in Counselling Psychology D. Couns. Psych.