AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 2151–2163

The Experience of Antiretroviral Treatment for Black West African Women who are HIV Positive and Living in London: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

  • Johanna Spiers
  • Jonathan A. Smith
  • Elizabeth Poliquin
  • Jane Anderson
  • Rob Horne
Original Paper


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) offers a powerful intervention in HIV but effectiveness can be compromised by inadequate adherence. This paper is a detailed examination of the experience of medication in a purposively selected group of people living with HIV. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 HIV positive, West African women of black heritage living in London, UK. This group was of interest since it is the second largest group affected by HIV in the UK. Interviews were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis, an idiographic, experiential, qualitative approach. The paper details the women’s negative experience of treatment. ART can be considered difficult and unrelenting and may be disconnected from the women’s sense of health or illness. Participants’ social context often exacerbated the difficulties. Some reported an improvement in their feelings about the medication over time. These findings point to some intrinsic and social motivators which could act as spurs to adherence.


Qualitative Medication Adherence Stigma 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesBirkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Practice & Policy, School of PharmacyUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.The Centre for the Study of Sexual Health and HIVHomerton University HospitalLondonUK

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