At the helm of healthwork: the exploration of biographical issues in HIV management.

Ayodeji Ogunrotifa

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis explores the consequences of healthwork on the biographies of people living with HIV in Nigeria. Biography, as Corbin and Strauss (1987) observed, consists of biographical temporality, the body, and the conception of self. This research explores the impacts of healthwork on the biographies of HIV-positive individuals. In this regard, this study unpacks the biographical implications of healthwork on the everyday lives of people living with HIV.
Thirty-two people living with HIV recruited from two HIV-support groups in SouthWestern Nigeria, were interviewed about their experiences of living with HIV using semi-structured interviews. The data obtained were then analysed using thematic analysis.

Four key findings resulted from the study. First, it was found that healthwork is
comprised of practices that HIV-positive individuals undertake around their health to support their treatment regime; these practices included spirituality, counselling, adherence, testing, dieting, concealment, support group participation and internet use. Second, healthwork helped to rebuild and reconstruct the disrupted biographical temporality of HIV-positive individuals by providing continuity and positivity. Third, healthwork helped to construct non-infectiousness corporealities through reassessment, negotiation, minimisation, and demythologisation. Fourth, healthwork helped to foster the empowered self and the optimistic self for HIV-positive individuals who constructed powerless and hopeless selves following diagnosis. These findings on biographical time, the body, and the conception of self, offer important insights into biographical aspects of HIV management, and thus contribute to the literature on healthwork, as well as an understanding of HIV management in a contemporary Nigerian context. Overall, this research has demonstrated that healthwork is integral to the personal and social fabric of HIV-positive individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Jago, Robert, Supervisor
Award date1 Nov 2021
Publication statusUnpublished - 23 Oct 2021


  • Healthwork, Biography,
  • Ayodeji Ogunrotifa, Royal Holloway
  • Biographical Time, Body, Self and Identity

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