Original Research

The lived experiences of HIV-positive women in rural Zimbabwe: A qualitative focus group study

Limkile Mpofu, Makombo Ganga-Limando
South African Family Practice | Vol 66, No 1 : Part 2| a5823 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/safp.v66i1.5823 | © 2024 Limkile Mpofu, Makombo Ganga-Limando | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 August 2023 | Published: 18 March 2024

About the author(s)

Limkile Mpofu, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Makombo Ganga-Limando, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The study explored and described the meaning attached to the lived experiences of women living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the rural context of Zimbabwe. Stigma and discrimination negatively impact one’s ability to perform the expected social roles, the quality of life, and the efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and reduce HIV-related mortality. Thus, the study aims to understand the meaning attached to the lived experiences of HIV-positive women living in rural areas or villages of Matabeleland South province in Zimbabwe.

Methods: The study used a qualitative, descriptive, and exploratory design. Four focus group discussions were conducted with 24 HIV-positive rural women living in Matabeleland South province, Zimbabwe. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was adopted to explore and describe the meaning attached to the lived experiences of women living with HIV.

Results: Two interconnected themes were identified in the analysis with their sub-themes. These were: (1) struggle for social belonging, with subthemes – loss of social belonging and reduced access to community-based empowerment opportunities and (2) struggle for maintaining the quality of life with subthemes – lack of need-based community healthcare and food insecurity.

Conclusion: Being a woman living with HIV in rural Zimbabwe means a perpetual struggle to maintain one’s humanness and quality of life.

Contribution: This study’s results will support the efforts of the Zimbabwean government to improve the quality of life of HIV-positive women living in rural areas.


Keywords

stigma and discrimination; rural women; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA); HIV and AIDS; rural Zimbabwe; meanings attached; lived experiences; framework

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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