1.2. HIV, Gender, and Mental Health
1.3. HIV, Gender and Refugees
1.4. Refugees, Gender, and Mental Health
1.5. Rationale for the Study
2. Materials and Method
2.2. Ethical Considerations
2.3. Selection Criteria
2.4. Accessing the Sample
2.6. Data Analysis
3.1. Overview of the Sample
3.2. Qualitative Analysis
There are times when you book an appointment and you see just any other doctor, they don’t want to listen. There are times when I say, “You are not listening to me, you are telling me but I’m the one carrying the body that you’re working on and you need to listen to what I’m saying that I’m feeling. Yes, I know it’s part and parcel of the condition but at the same time, I’m not well, you have to listen that I’m saying I’m not well.” But sometimes they’ll say, “Oh there’s nothing else we can do.”
3.3. Facing HIV Stigma: ‘It’s the Sickness of Shame’
Yeah, you’re perceived as like you’ve been not a good person for you to contract HIV. You’re made to feel like it’s your fault all the time and, unless you talk to someone and you hear their story, you don’t know how they got it and it’s a shame because we then paint it with just one brush, you’ve all been not looking after yourself or you’ve been sleeping around or yeah. So it’s really sad.
In Africa when somebody has got it, it’s a disgrace, it’s shame, you know, you have to be left to die and things like that. So when I was diagnosed with this sickness, I’m thinking okay, it’s sickness of shame and now I’m going to die, nobody will want me, nobody will want to talk to me.
There’s a stigma (in the UK), because I can’t just wake up in the morning and say to my fellow colleagues or people I walk around with that I’m HIV, no, I can’t. This is something they’ll try to isolate you, because it has ever happened to me, one of my friends just discovered that I was HIV positive, she stopped bringing her children to my house. So at the end of the day you don’t just wake up and say you’re HIV, there’s a lot of stigma around.
3.4. Feeling Unwelcomed: ‘You Are Not Supposed to Be Here’
It’s hard and hard sometimes. Sometimes there are situations that always remind you that you’re a refugee … I mean once they know that you’re a refugee they sort of look look down upon you and they make you feel rubbish and nothing.
They (people in general) are welcoming in a way, but there is still that thing, no one will be able to break it. People might say, “Oh, things are changing in the UK.” Things are not changing, people are suppressing what they think, but it’s still there, even racism. People might say, “Racism is not there anymore.” Racism is still there … you still have got, these negative things about immigrants and other people from different cultures. She also described the discrimination she experienced from the residents in her community home: Because even when I’m living in a Christian Community, you still have got, these negative things about immigrants and other people from different cultures.
It is after Brexit that is where I have seen, it is just becoming like wildfire because of Brexit, ‘You foreigners, you have to leave.’ I think that is what they thought when it was Brexit. As soon as it is Brexit everyone will have to go. P.6 also described her experience of racial discrimination at work: But people take it in the wrong way and they will make you uncomfortable. They will really make you uncomfortable. Sometimes at work yes you can ask someone, ’Look can I help you?’ And they say, ‘No I don’t want you, go back to your country.’
You see. I will not be taking because it’s not being alone, people also have the same problems and it’s like it will keep me going. I just want to keep myself freely to be a human being. I don’t want to sit isolated and just take care of this … To me, I wish I will meet people so I will be happy.
Or said P.6 … and then maybe if I join a group I am seeing other woman and I will feel I am not the only one. It will motivate me, that is another way, that’s how I feel. Furthermore, P.3 stated: It (the intervention) sounded like fun. Something to do to get together to run away from thinking of problem … I try to be busy because once I’m alone I start thinking and I’m stressed.
I think for women living with HIV, one thing that they must always try and maintain is looking after themselves and you know, reminding themselves that they’re beautiful and making themselves look … Yes and worth it and you’ve still got a lot to give. HIV is not going to define who you are.
I used to go to a therapist because half of the time if I start saying how I feel and so on and so on it makes me umm, how shall I say it, emotional. Yes. So I would rather draw how I feel but some talk. So I draw how I feel at the end of the session they will ask either do I want to share? If I don’t want to share.
Conflicts of Interest
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