Evid Based Nurs 6:60 doi:10.1136/ebn.6.2.60
  • Qualitative

Stories of both agency and acceptability were identified in accounts of HIV infected individuals having unprotected sex

 QUESTION: How do HIV infected individuals account for themselves and their behaviour in situations where unprotected sex has occurred?


Indepth interviews.


London area, UK.


61 people living with HIV infection and 12 sexual partners of people living with HIV infection were recruited using a purposive sampling strategy. The sample comprised 22 self described homosexuals, 42 heterosexuals, and 9 bisexuals. The sample also included drug users who had never injected, former and current injecting drug users, regular and infrequent users, and 3 never drug users.


Data were collected during 1–2 hour, loosely structured, indepth interviews conducted at HIV or drug support agencies, homes of interviewees, or the research department. Interview data were audiotaped, transcribed, coded, and analysed inductively. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic data including HIV testing, diagnosis, drug use, and recent sexual history.

Main findings

2 types of accounts were identified: stories of agency and stories of acceptability. Stories of agency …

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