The incorporation of the HIV/AIDS identity into the self over time

Qual Health Res. 2007 Sep;17(7):919-31. doi: 10.1177/1049732307305881.


In the mid-1990s HIV/AIDS transitioned from a terminal illness to a chronic disease because of medical advances. In this qualitative study the author examines how people incorporate the HIV/AIDS identity into their selves at three points in time. Findings demonstrate a five-component process, including diagnosis, postdiagnosis turning point, immersion, post-immersion turning point, and integration. In addition, the disclosure process corresponds to a particular component of incorporation. The author makes comparisons with the incorporation process of other chronic illness. Findings augment the literature on HIV/AIDS, chronic illness, and identity and have practical implications for HIV/AIDS educators.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Defense Mechanisms
  • Disclosure
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Support
  • Time Factors