A Survey of the Experience of Living with HIV+/AIDS from the Perspective of Ahvazi Women Focusing on Educational Needs and Empowerment: A Qualitative Study
Background: In Iran, there is a significant increase in women living with HIV+/AIDS. In a cultural, social, and political context, educational and empowerment needs are still considered a challenging issue among these women. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experience of living with HIV+/AIDS from the perspective of women in Ahvaz, Iran, focusing on educational needs and empowerment.
Methods: The present qualitative study was a descriptive phenomenology conducted in 2020. The research context included all educational, therapeutic, counseling, and support centers, governmental and non-governmental HIV/AIDS associations and institutions located in Ahvaz. The statistical population of the study included all women with HIV and AIDS. The study participants were selected using purposeful and snowball sampling method. Semi-structured open interviews (individual and face-to-face) were selected as the primary and central approach to data collection.
Results: The findings showed that the 5 identified themes of understanding the experience of focusing on educational needs and empowerment in women were severe suffering (shock, anger, resentment of the family and friends, and feelings of isolation), disapproval (prejudices, stereotypes, and taboos related to HIV in society, and feeling of lack of social support), insecurity in social and economic life (lack of readiness for cultural and social participation, equality or inequality in empowerment, assessing relationships based on economic criteria, and doubts about improving health), disrespect (disrespect for unique characteristics, and insult and slander), and hardship in protection (continuing to control health status information).
Conclusion: It can be concluded that the educational and empowerment needs of patients with AIDS/HIV+ should be taken into consideration. Mobilizing individuals, specialists, and providers of counseling and care services in different sectors to gain a better understanding of the complex nature of the phenomenon of non-compliance with the right to empowerment will be useful.
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