Document Type

Honors Project


With great improvements in antiretroviral treatment, HIV/AIDS has become a condition people are living with throughout their lives. It is therefore important to understand how people mentally and emotionally cope with the onset of disease and create behavioral change to maintain health. Through interviews with residents living at a housing facility for people with HIV/AIDS, I found there are a variety of ways that individuals respond to illness. Behavioral change results from how people understand their identity in a personal and social context. People also vary in how they manage their disease, depending on the type of social support they receive. As individuals learn and grow from their experiences with illness, they often became advocates for their own health and view their status as an asset in helping others. This research helps to inform service providers, policymakers, and communities about how to best allocate resources and foster health change for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.


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