Self-care of women growing older with HIV and/or AIDS

West J Nurs Res. 2005 Aug;27(5):534-53; comment 554-8. doi: 10.1177/0193945905275973.


The purpose of this report is to describe the ways older women living with HIV perceive of and practice self-care. Data are taken from a culturally diverse subsample of 9 women age 50 years or older who participated in a larger longitudinal qualitative study of women who were HIV infected. During a period of 2 years, 10 semistructured narrative interviews were conducted with each of the 9 participants to gain an in-depth understanding of their experiences with symptom management, adherence to medical regimens, reduction of HIV risk, access to health care and social services, and personal efforts to maintain their health. Transcribed data were managed using Nvivo software and analyzed using multistaged narrative analysis. Findings suggest that mature women living with HIV integrate actions to maintain bodily comfort and improve physical well-being with actions that champion and conserve the existential self. Excerpts from their interviews illustrate this dialectical understanding of self-care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / therapy
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • Self Care* / psychology
  • Wisconsin