Promoting mental health of students living with HIV using appreciative inquiry
Living with HIV poses many challenges. This is especially true for students living with HIV (SLHIV) within a university setting. The challenges faced by SLHIV makes it difficult for them to see new possibilities in living with the virus. The purpose of the study was to describe the experiences of being a student living with HIV and being a practitioner caring for them by using Appreciative Inquiry which incorporated individual interviews. A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual research design was applied in this study. Purposeful sampling was utilised to select participants in accordance with specific criteria. Individual interviews using the 4-D model of Appreciative Inquiry, were conducted with SLHIV and practitioners caring for them. The individual interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed into themes and categories which were verified separately by an independent coder, who is experienced in qualitative research, and further confirmed by research participants through member checking. Themes and categories derived from the data were discussed, and the findings were positioned in terms of relevant literature and the results of similar studies. The study concluded that when SLHIV and practitioners caring for them, embarked on a journey of discovering their strengths in living with HIV and dealing with SLHIV respectively, they start to see new possibilities and potential to effect change to help students manage their HIV infection more effectively.
Keywords: effect change, HIV infection, journey of discovering, practitioners caring for students living with HIV, strengths