Evid Based Nurs 1:130 doi:10.1136/ebn.1.4.130
  • Qualitative

Deliberate HIV exposure by 6 African-American youths was rooted in growing up poor in the inner city

 Question What are the experiences of 6 African-American youths who deliberately sought exposure to HIV?




Inner city Detroit, Michigan, USA.


6 African-American youths (4 women, 2 men) ranging in age from 12–22 years who had ≥1 family member with HIV/AIDS and who had deliberately sought exposure to HIV. All respondents were HIV seropositive.


Respondents told their stories during meetings that took place over time at locations chosen by the respondents. Meetings often occurred in the respondents' homes.

Main results

The decisions of the 6 youths to deliberately expose themselves to HIV were presented in the context of “marginalization, insensitive social policies, and demanding caretaking responsibilities” inherent in growing up poor in the inner city. The following are excerpts of conversations about why the respondents deliberately sought exposure to HIV:

Belinda: (mother with AIDS and 2 HIV positive stepsisters) “ … the easiest thing to do was to just give up and get sick too … maybe now I'se sick, I'll be maybe able to get the things I needed before … the counselling and the assistance and the money I'se asked for all these times …

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