The search for meaning in HIV and AIDS: the carers' experience

Qual Health Res. 2000 Nov;10(6):750-65. doi: 10.1177/104973200129118804.


This article explores informal carers' experiences in caregiving for people living with HIV and AIDS. The search for meaning encompasses the ways in which carers find meaning in caregiving. A grounded theory approach was taken. Data were collected by means of 43 in-depth interviews and participant observation. Caregivers felt that it was important to have control over the emphasis that HIV had within their lives and developed an attitude that put the virus in perspective. Getting involved in HIV and AIDS work outside of the immediate caregiving relationship was evident. The motivation for this was in part a reaction to prevailing societal views on HIV and in part altruistic in that it provided further meaning for the caregiving experience. This study suggests that finding meaning in caregiving is a powerful way to achieve a balance between the costs of caregiving and personal reward.

MeSH terms

  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / nursing*
  • Home Nursing / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Motivation
  • United States