Socioeconomic Consequences of HIV and AIDS for HIV Positive Women in Addis Ababa and their Coping Strategies

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Addis Ababa University


This research has focused on exploring the consequences of HIV and AIDS for HIV-positive women in Addis Ababa and their coping strategies. 15 HIV-positive women who were accessed from care and support organizations and associations of PLWHA were interviewed in depth on a range of issues related to the challenge they face. Major factors which render women more vulnerable to HIV infection were highlighted. Different socioeconomic and cultural factors such as; poverty, less access to education, lack of employment opportunities and economic dependency are among these. Due to their low socio-economic status the consequences of HIVIAIDS on the women found to be severe. They aiso have fewer means to cope up with the impact of the epidemic. The women's socioeconomic conditions had also changed considerably since their diagnosis as HIV-positive. Some women's husbands died due to AIDS as a result income disappeared. Moreover, some had children to care for and had to struggle to survive with meager resources. HIV/AIDS appeared to be the object of stigmatization as a result the women do not only have to cope with their own anxieties, physical symptoms, and economic problems but also with the response or expected response of partners, family members, friends and the community. Due to fear of stigmatization therefore most kept their status an absolute secret. Some of the women who managed to reveal their status however, noted the positive reaction they experienced. The fear seems to appear greater than the actuality. The women made use of various coping strategies which can be classified in to emotion-focused and problem-focused coping. Seeking emotional and instrumental support especially from relatives, joining PLWHA networks, religion, and acceptance, positive interpretation and hope are some of the strategies. In particular, joining PLWHA networks and care and support organizations has been observed as a good means that helped most women in coming to terms with HIV status and actively cope with its consequences. PLWHA's associations and care and support organizations provide emotional and instrumental support to the women. By doing so they have created a safe environment for the women to share their worries and experiences with others who have the same problem . • Religion was also another most important coping strategy which led most women to accept their situation and to develop hope.



Socio-economic Consequences of HIV