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adaptation to HIV, long-term nonprogressors with HIV



  1. Barroso, Julie


Background: Although biomedical research is being conducted on long-term nonprogressors with HIV disease, there is relatively little research on the psychosocial factors influencing this phenomenon.


Objective: To describe the perceptions of long-term nonprogressors of their HIV disease and its course.


Method: A naturalistic study design was used to elicit information from 25 men and women who were long-term nonprogressors (HIV positive for 7 or more years, CD4 count > 500, and free of opportunistic infections and/or AIDS-defining illnesses). Audiotaped interviews were transcribed verbatim, and content analysis and constant comparison were used to elicit themes.


Results: Themes include viewing HIV as a manageable illness, taking care of my physical health, human connectedness, taking care of my emotional/mental health, and spirituality. Specific ways of adapting to HIV are identified within each theme.


Conclusions: The results of this study can be used by nurses who work with HIV positive individuals in an effort to help them adopt strategies that may assist them in maintaining their health. However, longitudinal studies that follow this group over time and that include biomedical markers of disease progression would provide knowledge that would assist in the refinement of these interventions.