Aboriginal Communities in Canada and HIV/Aids: The Voices Must Be Heard
McKay-McNabb, Kim Verna
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this research was to develop a theory grounded in the life experiences of Aboriginal community members in Canada that describes the ways in which they have been affected by HIV/AIDS. This theory has incorporated the effects of colonization within Aboriginal communities; although historical, effects of colonization have been linked by researchers to many health challenges confronting Aboriginal communities today. This thesis has reviewed the research evidence that suggests the higher prevalence and incidence of HIV/AIDS in Aboriginal communities has roots in historical colonization. The qualitative data collected provides experiential information documenting present-day experience of community members who are affected by HIV/AIDS in Canada. I conducted 20 qualitative interviews with Aboriginal community members from across Canada who have been infected (been diagnosed with) or affected (relative has been diagnosed with) by HIV and AIDS to gain a better understanding of how HIV/AIDS is changing the health landscape within Aboriginal communities. Grounded theory methodology was utilized to analyze the interview data. The participants in this research are made up of a unique group of Aboriginal individuals in Canada and may represent the experience of a portion of the population. As there is a paucity of research about Aboriginal Peoples living with HIV and AIDS in Canada, the results of this research study has contributed to development of a theory describing what it is like for Aboriginal Peoples who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS and suggestions about culturally relevant methods of healing. This research gave voice to those Aboriginal community members in Canada, who are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS or affected by HIV/AIDS. The theory describes participants’ journeys of transformation where they have learned to embrace their new identities. Life experiences of Aboriginal community members in Canada that were infected by HIV/AIDS (APHAs) or family members affected by having a loved one infected by HIV/AIDS (APAAs) generated a propositional theory. APHAs who participated in the study were significantly open about their identity with HIV/AIDS and most identified with also being affected by HIV. The APHAs were more willing to be open about their diagnosis and were very interested in sharing their life experiences of living with HIV/AIDS. They made up over half of the participants in the study (n=14). Those individuals that were APAA’s were more challenging to recruit, and ultimately, I extended my study by another year to ensure that Aboriginal community members who are affected by HIV/AIDs participated. They made up approximately one third of the participants (n=6). The theory suggests that these individuals are more likely to have not shared their life experiences with other The current propositional theory that emerged suggests that the healing journeys of APHAs and APAAs are significantly different in nature. The tree depicts the emerging theory, a journey on the path to psychological and cultural healing: transformation of identity. The visual depiction includes the transformation of identity that an Aboriginal individual might experience when living with their HIV diagnosis or having been affected by HIV either directly or through a loved one being infected. Two models emerged that depict the journey and the transformations of identity that begin as seeds in the earth and throughout the transformation grow into trees.