Exploring Resilience Among Black Women Living With HIV in the Southern United States: Findings From a Qualitative Study

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2022 Mar-Apr;33(2):224-234. doi: 10.1097/JNC.0000000000000311.


Black women living with HIV (WLWH) face individual and sociostructural challenges. Despite these challenges, many exemplify remarkable levels of resilience and coping. Yet, research on resilience and coping in this population is limited. Twenty Black WLWH in the Southern United States completed semi-structured interviews that explored challenges facing WLWH. We identified six themes related to resilience and coping: self-acceptance, disclosure, self-compassion, social support, will to live, and service. Of these, social support was a driving protective element and an essential component to building and sustaining resilience and coping. Women who experienced positive support often expressed a will to live as well as a desire to support other WLWH. Resilience and social support were characterized by patterns of reciprocity, in that they were mutually sustaining, stabilizing, and strengthening.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Black People
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Support
  • United States