Challenges in researching life with HIV/AIDS: an intersectional analysis of black African migrants in London

Cult Health Sex. 2009 Feb;11(2):173-88. doi: 10.1080/13691050802560336.


Most social science research on HIV has focused on prevention. The arrival of new therapies generated more studies on life with HIV. However most have been carried out in developed world contexts. Much less is known about the vast majority of those living with HIV and dying from AIDS. If this gap is to be filled, more qualitative research will be needed on affected individuals in the developing world and also among migrants who have left developing countries to live in the diaspora. It will also be essential to explore the lives of individuals from the same communities who may experience HIV in very different ways as a result of their gender and/or sexuality. This paper presents findings from three studies of Black African migrants living with HIV in London. It uses an intersectional approach to examine the similarities and the differences between the experiences of heterosexual women, heterosexual men and gay and/or bisexual men. The article highlights the importance of research of this kind both for providing the evidence base for context-specific policy development and also for making better conceptual and theoretical sense of the impact of HIV on individuals and their lives.

MeSH terms

  • Bisexuality
  • Blacks / psychology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Homosexuality
  • Humans
  • London / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prejudice
  • Social Support
  • Transients and Migrants / psychology*