Women living with HIV/AIDS: a phenomenological intergenerational interpretation of their experiences

by Chisaka, J.K.C.

Abstract (Summary)
This study deals with the impact of HIV/AIDS on women living in chronic poverty. The question arises: Do we focus on their HIV/AIDS stories only or do we include their other lived experiences? This phenomenological study, on two sets of three generations of women infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and living in poverty, is an attempt at understanding the way the women experience their lifeworlds, not only their HIV/AIDS stories. One set includes a grandmother, her daughter who is living with full-blown AIDS, and her granddaughter, while the other includes a grandmother, her daughter and her granddaughter infected with HIV. The initial focus of the study was on the women’s HIV/AIDS narratives. However as the study progressed, especially during the interviews, it became apparent that the women’s generational poverty or chronic poverty was of greater concern to them than the HIV/AIDS that they were experiencing. Of the six participants, only one woman centred her life story on HIV/AIDS. This finding echoes other studies on HIV/AIDS among poor women: that chronic poverty is more threatening to the women than the risk or reality of AIDS.

As a phenomenological researcher my aim was to focus on the participants’ own interpretations of the studied phenomenon. However, this was inadequate in accounting for the role that social structures play in shaping and informing the women’s subjective consciousness and experience. For this reason, I used feminist ideas to understand and interpret the women’s patriarchal experiences.

Bibliographical Information:


School:Rhodes University

School Location:South Africa

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:sociology and industrial


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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