Exploring Experiences and Perceptions of Older African American Males Aging With HIV in the Rural Southern United States

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The HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) epidemic in the United States remains a serious public health concern. Despite treatment and prevention efforts, approximately 50,000 new HIV cases are transmitted each year. Estimates indicate that 44% of all people diagnosed with HIV are living in the southern region of the United States. African Americans represent 13.2% of the United States population; however, 44% (19,540) of reported new HIV cases in 2014 were diagnosed within this ethnic group. The majority of cases were diagnosed in men (73%, 14,305). In the United States, it is estimated that 21% of adults living with HIV are 50 years or older. There exists limited data regarding how well African American men are aging with HIV disease. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of older African American men living with HIV in rural Georgia. Data were collected from 35 older African American men living with HIV using focus groups and face-to-face personal interviews. Qualitative content analysis revealed six overlapping themes: (1) Stigma; (2) Doing Fine, Most of the Time; (3) Coping With Age-Related Diseases and HIV; (4) Self-Care; (5) Family Support; and (6) Access to Resources. The findings from this study provide new insights into the lives of rural HIV-infected African American men, expands our understanding of how they manage the disease, and why many return to or remain in rural communities.

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Americal Journal of Men's Health

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