Health-illness beliefs and practices of Haitians with HIV disease living in Boston

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 1995 Nov-Dec;6(6):45-53. doi: 10.1016/S1055-3290(05)80013-5.


The authors of this qualitative study explored the health-illness beliefs and practices of Haitians with HIV disease. The authors obtained a purposive sample of five Haitian men and four Haitian women with symptomatic HIV disease or AIDS living in Boston. Five themes were identified through content analysis of interviews and medical record review: (a) incorporation of traditional health-illness beliefs into beliefs about HIV disease; (b) A perceived need to hide HIV disease to avoid rejection, humiliation, and isolation; (c) use of spirituality to help cope with HIV disease; (d) history of limited contact with doctors prior to diagnosis of HIV disease; and (e) use of traditional healing practices for HIV disease. The findings have implications for improving cross-cultural communication between Haitians with HIV disease and their healthcare providers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Haiti / ethnology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Religion and Medicine
  • Shame
  • Superstitions