Literature has highlighted the unique period of vulnerability following an HIV diagnosis during pregnancy. Despite the high burden of HIV among pregnant women in South Africa, the experiences of women diagnosed with HIV during pregnancy have rarely been explored in isolation from those diagnosed at different times. This paper explored the experiences of women who were diagnosed with HIV when pregnant and assessed their emotional recovery beyond diagnosis. The study used a qualitative descriptive phenomenological approach to conduct interviews with women recruited from ART clinics in a health district in South Africa. Participants included 19 women sampled purposively. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed following the thematic approach. Testing positive during pregnancy and being free of symptoms increased the shock, disbelief, and strong emotions exhibited. For the women, the diagnosis of HIV coincided with pregnancy and transformed pregnancy from excitement to anxiety. Although the transition from being HIV negative to becoming HIV positive and pregnant was overwhelming, with the passage of time, the women transitioned to feelings of acceptance. However, the process of acceptance was slow and varied, with some experiencing non-acceptance for extended periods. Non-acceptance of HIV diagnosis has serious adverse public health consequences for the individual. Integrating continuous HIV counselling and culturally appropriate psychosocial care into practice could foster acceptance for pregnant women with HIV diagnosis.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2021|
- HIV seropositive
- South Africa