Lived experience of people living with HIV in Blantyre,Malawi: an exploratory qualitative study

Talumba Mercy Mankhokwe1, Enock Chisati2, Mokgobadibe Ntsiea1

  1. University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Health Sciences, Physiotherapy Department; Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Physiotherapy
  2. Kamuzu University of Health Science, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences

*Corresponding Author: Talumba Mercy Mankhokwe; E-mail:


People living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) encounter a range of complex challenges that impact their physical, psychological, and social well-being. The combined effects of these challenges significantly impact their daily functioning. Despite the relatively high prevalence of HIV in Malawi, there is limited knowledge on how the challenges experienced by people living with HIV correlate with their societal participation and performance of activities.
This study aimed to explore the lived experience of people living with HIV and how the challenges experienced impact societal participation and activity performance.

A qualitative exploratory study design was used. Fourteen participants were purposefully selected for the study, with an
equal number of males and females. The data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and manually analyzed using thematic analysis.
It was found that participants faced discrimination, stigma, depression, anxiety, and worries. The study participants associated their taking of antiretroviral therapy with physical impairments such as dizziness, leg pain, yellow eyes, and fatigue. The physical impairments hampered participantsā€™ ability to walk, work, conduct business, perform household chores, and care for children.
This study identified the difficulties that people living with HIV faced in their communities and how these challenges impact societal participation and performance in activities. There is a need for a holistic approach to managing these challenges and making referrals to specialized professionals.

Keywords: stigma, discrimination, work, participation, and living with HIV

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