Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Leann Stadtlander

Abstract

Prior to 1996, the prognosis of HIV disease was near-certain death; however, biomedical advancements in the past 20 years established HIV as a chronic manageable disease with a nearly normal life span. Recent advancements suggest the potential for a cure. One outcome of current medical treatments is that 50% of all HIV positive individuals are older (â?¥ 50years), and a substantial number of those individuals are long-term (â?¥ 20 years) survivors. Existing research Qualitative research has provided little insight about what older long-term HIV survivors believe about their disease circumstances and aging with the disease. A qualitative method in the phenomenological tradition was used to explore older long-term HIV survivors' notions about aging with HIV and an HIV cure. The self-regulation model of illness representations and the preventive and corrective, proactivity (PCP) model of aging with HIV disease for older adults guided the study. Using strategically placed flyers in HIV services environments, 12 older long-term HIV survivors volunteered to describe their beliefs about aging with HIV and an HIV cure. Participants' statements were entered into discrete cells in an electronic spreadsheet (Excel) and were coded, sorted, and categorized. The categories were sorted for commonality, and emergent themes and subthemes were identified. Older long-term HIV survivors believed they had few issues aging with HIV, expected to live a long time, and believed that finding a cure would have little effect on their lives. These research findings may be beneficial to healthcare providers and researchers who provide quality of life interventions and information to older adults living long-term with HIV who are concerned about aging, longevity, and a cure.

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