Date of Completion


Embargo Period



HIV, HIV stigma, stigma, older women, thematic narrative analysis

Major Advisor

Thomas L. Long

Associate Advisor

Cheryl Tatano Beck

Associate Advisor

Annette Maruca

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Aging Women with Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Narrative Analysis of Stigma

Seja Jackson, Ph.D.

University of Connecticut, 2020

Over 50 % of people living with HIV are over age 50 (CDC, 2019a). Older women face unique challenges due to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) stigma, which leads to complications including late diagnosis and poorer outcomes. Despite the transition of HIV to a chronic disease, HIV stigma remains.

In alignment with feminist principles, this author used Catherine Riessman’s (1993; 2008) method of thematic narrative analysis to illuminate the stories of aging women living with HIV. I interviewed 12 women over 50, aging with HIV. Their stories were individually analyzed and a meta-story of all stories was completed. Individual stories remained whole within the meta-story. This revealed five overarching themes: Persistent HIV Diagnosis Related Trauma: I Keep It All Bottled Up Inside, Self-silencing Disclosure: I Would Take It To My Grave, HIV Stigma: It Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, Education: We Can End the Stigma, and Resilience Despite Challenges: I Kick Rocks To The HIV.

This study helped close the knowledge gap and provided valuable insight for nursing about this population. Nurses can prevent HIV stigmatization and offer safe spaces for such women. They can be aware of ongoing depression. Nurses can support programs, funding, and legislation to end HIV stigma and include HIV care in their curricula. Nurse researchers can explore issues of importance for women aging with HIV. This study provided strong evidence for the ongoing HIV stigma status for women over 50 aging with HIV. The study demonstrated how nurses are critical in the struggle to end HIV stigma.

Seja Jackson – University of Connecticut, 2020

Keywords: HIV, HIV stigma, stigma, older women, thematic narrative analysis