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Understanding the Experience of HIV-Positive Pregnant Immigrant Women

Featured now and available for download – “The Lived Experience of Pregnancy Among HIV-Positive Refugee Women: A Qualitative Study” by Teresa Chulach, PhD, RN, NP; Marilou Gagnon, PhD, RN and Dave Holmes, PhD, RN.  In this article the authors discuss themes from their phenomenological analysis which they belief can lead to culturally competent and culturally safe care. Dr. Chulach provided this background on their work:

After several decades of practice as both a nurse and nurse practitioner, the importance of understanding the lived experience in clients’ care is more apparent than ever. Such knowledge is essential if we are to assist clients

Teresa Chulach

Teresa Chulach

in confronting the challenges they encounter in addressing their health and social issues.

As a nurse practitioner working within a tertiary care immunology setting, I became unsettled by the health care systems seemingly inability to address the needs of HIV-positive refugee pregnant women and was further disturbed when I witnessed women dropping out of care completely.  As a graduate student at that time (Masters in Nursing) I attempted to gain further understanding of this phenomenon in development of my qualitative research proposal.  The proposal development spurred my interest inspiring me to go on and complete the research study in Doctoral education.  With the expert guidance of Dr. Marilou Gagnon, as a thesis supervisor and an esteemed thesis committee (Dr. Dave Holmes, Dr. Denise Moreau, Dr. Wendy Peterson) I embarked on a journey of discovery that shed light on the many influences that shaped the experience of pregnancy for HIV-positive refugee women in their new Canadian context.

Dave Holmes and Marilou Gagnon

Dave Holmes and Marilou Gagnon

This article presents the findings of the thesis project. The findings illuminate how pregnant HIV-positive refugee often find themselves situated within a liminal reality—a ‘in-between’ space that situates them neither there (country of origin) nor here (their host society of Canada). This liminal reality has implications for their health at the identity level (micro) the social level (meso) and is affected by macro-level policies. Yet, it is a space that also offers the possibility of transformation and the hope for something “new” to develop. We invite you to explore the experience of HIV-positive pregnant refugee women in this liminal reality. While this study is situated in the Canadian context we believe that it provides insight for other contexts as global migration and displacement continue to be predominant features of today’s society.

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