Learning Objective 1: Discuss vulnerability and resilience in the context of HIV infection.
Learning Objective 2: Describe implications of vulnerability and resilience for HIV-infected individuals.
Vulnerability and resilience are important concepts for nurses to consider when planning interventions for individuals experiencing physical and psychosocial stressors. These concepts are significant for individuals living with the sequelae of HIV infection. However, upon review of the literature, no research was found that identified the defining essences of vulnerability and resilience for adults with HIV infection. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences and perceptions of vulnerability and resilience in adults with HIV infection.
Using a phenomenological research approach, 15 adults with HIV representing diverse ethnic backgrounds were recruited from a University-based adult HIV care clinic. A recruitment flyer was used to recruit the sample. Participants were asked to describe their experiences and perceptions of vulnerability and resilience in the context of HIV. Participants' responses were audio-recorded. Clusters of similar experiences and perceptions were identified from the data, allowing for the emergence of themes common to all participants' descriptions and providing textural and structural descriptions of the phenomena.
Rich descriptions of vulnerability and resilience in the context of HIV infection emerged fromt the data. Participants described vulnerability as physical and psychological illnesses and HIV-related stigma. Resilience was described as managing the illness and the desire to support and mentor others with HIV infection. Vulnerability and resilience was closely related and may co-exist during the course of HIV infection.
Nurses and other healthcare providers working with adults with HIV infection need awareness of the conditions, situations, or events that impact this population. Descriptions of vulnerability and resilience from a client perspective assist nurses and other healthcare providers to develop interventions to address the needs of adults living with HIV infection.
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