Discovery of, and response to husbands’ HIV positive status: The groaning voices of Vhavenda women

  • M Ramarumo
  • P Mudhovozi
Keywords: Emotional response, married women, husband’s HIV positive status, South Africa


Many couples find themselves in situations that are difficult to understand when there is discordance concerning HIV infection. This situation warrants a lot of questions that do not have answers and for many people it leaves them with ambivalent feelings towards the spouse. The present study was conducted to explore the emotions that women experience when the husband tests HIV positive. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six (age range: 36 to 42 years; mean age: 38.0 years; ethnicity: Venda; marital status: married) purposively selected women who consulted for psychological intervention needed to care for their sick husbands. Data were analysed using thematic content analysis. The results of this study indicated that the women went through different emotions and they had reacted differently to the news depending on other circumstances in their marriage. It is therefore recommended that support groups for these women be established to offer them an opportunity to share their experiences and feelings.

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eISSN: 1117-4315