Learning Objective 1: Describe source of vulnerability for people living with HIV infection.
Learning Objective 2: Discuss nursing implications of HIV-related vulnerability.
Methods: Grounded theory methodology was used to sample and analyze data from 15 qualitative interviews of adults with HIV infection. Data were collected from September to December 2008, and concluded when data saturation was reached.
Results: A theory that describes the process by which vulnerability occurs in the context of HIV infection, Living in Silence, emerged from the data. Living in Silence consists of four categories: Confronting Mortality and Illness, Struggling with Change, Encountering a Lack of Psychosocial Support, and Experiencing Vulnerability.
Conclusion: Clients living with HIV infection experience vulnerability at some point in the disease trajectory. Nursing interventions to decrease the risks of vulnerability should be directed toward the holistic needs of clients, and toward increasing psychosocial support.