Resilience and pathways to wellness among HIV-positive patients in Ghana: a qualitative study

Published in: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume 19, issue 1, 2020 , pages: 69–79
DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2019.1686034
Author(s): Chantal LewisBrown University Schools of Public Health, USA, Margaret LarteyUniversity of Ghana School of Medicine & Dentistry, Ghana, Don OperarioBrown University Schools of Public Health, USA


Few African studies have focused on resilience factors related to engagement in HIV-related care among people living with HIV; instead, many studies have identified health risk factors and barriers within this population. Informed by the Disability-Stress-Coping Model of Adjustment, a qualitative study was conducted to develop a better understanding of psychosocial factors that can promote positive behaviours and subjective wellness for people living with HIV in Accra, Ghana. Thirty patients from the two largest HIV clinics in Accra participated in in-depth individual interviews. Using a thematic analysis approach, three individual-level factors related to resilience and subjective wellness were identified: (1) holding positive attitudes towards the pathway from HIV testing and diagnosis to healthy living with HIV; (2) placing appropriate (but not absolute) levels of trust in the clinical care environment; and (3) judicious disclosure of their HIV status to key individuals. Findings support a resilience framework that focuses on individual strengths and positive adaptations to HIV diagnosis in order to enhance understanding and promote the HIV care continuum for people living with HIV in this context. Development of resilience-focused approaches to public health intervention is particularly important in low-resource settings such as Ghana where research tends to focus on deficiencies and healthcare inadequacies for people living with HIV.

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