Abstract

Objective. The purpose of this qualitative research study was to gain an understanding of the daily life experiences of eight gay men with HIV/AIDS living alone in New York City.

Method. The participants ranged in age from 25 to 50 years. Data were primarily collected using in-depth personal interviews in 1996 followed by telephone interviews 1 year later. Constant-comparison and thematic analyses were used to identify themes and subthemes.

Results. Two broad themes with related subthemes were generated from the data. “A Reasonably Stable Base” represented the emotional, physical, and environmental foundation that preexisted or was created as a consequence of living with HIV/AIDS. This theme played a particularly important role in the participants’ lives, especially during periods of emotional and physical instability. “Finding and Maintaining Balance” was a second theme that illustrated strategies used for managing and readjusting daily routines, goals, and priorities, as well as how the participants experienced this readjustment process.

Conclusions. All of the participants developed their own daily living strategies that were comparable to intervention methods provided in occupational therapy such as energy conservation and work simplification. The findings suggest that occupational therapy practitioners could potentially assist urban gay men with HIV/AIDS with finding and maintaining stability and balance in their daily lives.

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