Help-Seeking in Women Living with HIV who have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence

Lea Beretti

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Women living with HIV/AIDS who have experienced intimate partner violence (WLHA/IPV) face unique health, safety, and overall well-being difficulties. The intersection of HIV status and IPV often exacerbates the already present challenges. Research has highlighted the complex dynamics and barriers these women encounter when seeking help, highlighting the need for further investigation to inform interventions and tailor services to their needs. This qualitative research study, therefore, aimed to explore the help-seeking experiences of WLHA/IPV using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). IPA was used to understand the lived experiences and subjective interpretations of help-seeking for six WLHA/IPV. The sample included WLHA/IPV ranging between 42 and 62 years from varied racial and ethnic backgrounds. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, allowing rich and detailed narratives to emerge. The study revealed several key group experiential themes related to help-seeking among WLHA/IPV. These included: (1) HIV as a life-altering diagnosis, (2) the abusers use various strategies to exert power and control, (3) the lasting impact of IPV, (4) support services perpetuate experiences of abuse, and (5) moving on from the trauma. The participants’ experiences highlighted the complex interplay between HIV status, IPV, and help-seeking, shedding light on the unique challenges faced by this vulnerable population. Additionally, the findings
underscore the importance of addressing the intersecting issues of HIV and IPV to develop more effective interventions and support services for this population. The limitations of this study include the small sample size, which may limit the generalisability of the findings, as well as potential biases inherently present in qualitative research. Nevertheless, this research provides valuable insights into the subjective experiences of WLHA/IPV and can serve as a foundation for further research and the development of targeted interventions for this population.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Evangeli, Michael, Supervisor
  • Luzon, Olga, Supervisor
  • Gilleece, Yvonne, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Nov 2023
Publication statusUnpublished - 2023


  • HIV
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Domestic Violence
  • Help-Seeking
  • Healthcare

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