"I'm not going to die from the AIDS": resilience in aging with HIV disease

Gerontologist. 2011 Feb;51(1):101-11. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnq060. Epub 2010 Jul 22.


Purpose: Adults aging with HIV/AIDS can experience resilience in spite of the deleterious affects of the disease. This study seeks to examine the lived experiences of older adults with HIV/AIDS as it relates to strengths and resilience in dealing with this devastating disease.

Design and methods: Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 25 adults, 50 years and older, living with HIV/AIDS. The interview transcripts were analyzed using constant comparative methodology following the tenets of adaptive theory.

Results: The majority of informants expressed experiences of resilience and strengths as related to living with HIV/AIDS. Seven major themes emerged from the analysis including self-acceptance, optimism, will to live, generativity, self-management, relational living, and independence.

Implications: The research identified the importance of strengths and resilience among older adults living with HIV/AIDS. Further research is needed to explore these phenomena with larger samples. Practitioners should identify and implement methods for assessing resilience among older HIV-infected adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Qualitative Research
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self Care
  • Self Concept
  • Social Support
  • Stereotyping
  • Tape Recording
  • Washington