1. Mill, Judy E. RN, PhD


This article describes the explanatory model of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) illness used by aboriginal women in northern Alberta. Using Kleinman's explanatory model framework, eight women who were HIV positive were interviewed to determine their perspectives on the etiology, pathophysiology, symptomology, course of illness, and methods of treatment for HIV. A comparative analysis was done between the explanatory model of HIV illness as described by participants and the conventional biomedical paradigm of HIV disease. As described by aboriginal women, several aspects of the explanatory model of HIV were congruent with the biomedical paradigm. It was also found that the findings related to etiology and treatment of HIV illness was incongruent with the conventional biomedical paradigm of HIV disease. These findings highlight the relevance of knowing models of illness for health care professionals, particularly nurses who work in communities with a high incidence of HIV/AIDS. These models make care planning of patients with HIV and AIDS more focused and directed.