Women living in Kibera, Kenya: stories of being HIV+.




VanTyler, Samaya

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There is an abundance of biomedical and social science research relating to HIV/AIDS which has focused on understanding the disease from a medical crisis. The research has attended to matters of prevention and clinical treatment. This study is a naturalistic study which explores the socio-economic and political-cultural aspects of the disease in and on the lives of nine women living in one of the world’s mega slums, Kibera in Kenya. The study is based on the assumption that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has brought about social disruption and profound changes to the micro contexts of community and family life. Cultural norms, practices and values that historically sustained the fabric of African life are slowly being stripped away as those infected with HIV and their families cope with the impact of the chronic illness. Living as HIV+ women is yet one more challenge that these women face every day. They struggle to provide self-care and a healthy life for those they are responsible for within an environment that lacks so many social determinants of health. Using a methodological convergence of narrative, feminist and Indigenous methodologies within a post-colonial paradigm, I have explored how nine HIV+ African women story/experience their daily lives and participate in community activities. Consideration of the reality of the day to day experiences of HIV+ women living in an African slum settlement may offer insights for government, policy makers, and community-based and non-government organizations to better support and promote quality of life for those living with HIV/AIDS.



sub-Saharan Africa, women, AIDS, HIV, poverty