A study of the dating and sexual challenges faced by HIV positive people.
Mulqueeny, Delarise Maud.
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Dating and sexual relations are basic processes in the lives of most human beings. However, dating and sexual relationships in HIV positive peoples’ lives are fraught with challenges. Limited knowledge of these challenges is recorded. Studies focusing on the challenges of serodiscordance, ARVS, adherence, side effects of ARVS, condoms, reproduction, disclosure and stigma are plentiful, however studies addressing dating and sexual challenges of HIV positive people are sadly lacking. The study described and explored the dating and sexual challenges faced by HIV infected people. The systems and ecosystems approach provided the theoretical framework for the study. A descriptive and exploratory design was chosen for this study. Purposive and snowball sampling was utilised to access respondents for this study. Data was collected qualitatively, using semi-structured interviews with 12 HIV positive respondents. The interviewed lasted between 1 to 2 hours. This study found that People living with HIV (PLHIV) experience many challenges in their dating and sexual lives. The challenges varied amongst the respondents. The challenges were divided into the following themes: disclosure; stigma; rejection and discrimination; dating options to pursue; serosorting or abstaining; guilt; anger; blame; social disconnection; negative self esteem and fear; physical, medical and psychological factors; impact of ARVS; sexual changes/sexual dysfunction; reproduction; community/society; the media; counselling, awareness and education about dating and sexual relationships; government and the consequences of relationships ending. The study encouraged further research on the topic.