The experiences and coping strategies of United Kingdom-based African women following an HIV diagnosis during pregnancy

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2014 Mar-Apr;25(2):145-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2013.01.008. Epub 2013 Mar 21.


A qualitative investigation was conducted to explore the experience of African women living in the United Kingdom after being diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy. Participants (N = 12) completed a demographic questionnaire and participated in one-to-one semi-structured interviews. The interview addressed multiple personal, interpersonal, and systemic issues related to HIV, as well as HIV in the context of motherhood. Data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Themes that emerged included: (a) HIV being part of one's wider tapestry, (b) community and systemic influences and responses to HIV, (c) experiencing a different story of HIV, and (d) the mother-child relationship. Strikingly, the aspect of HIV these women reported finding most distressing was their inability to breastfeed, which seemed central to their cultural identity as mothers. Clinical recommendations and implications are made.

Keywords: African; asylum-seeking; maternal HIV; pregnancy; refugee.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Black People / ethnology
  • Black People / psychology*
  • Breast Feeding / ethnology
  • Breast Feeding / psychology
  • Child
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Refugees / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult