HIV influences those with the disease as well as their families and social relationships. The chosen families of persons living with HIV (PLWH) provide structure, social support, and security. Our study identified reasons why PLWH included specific individuals in their chosen families (or families of choice). This mixed-method design used a convenience sample of 150 PLWH, ages 19-68 years. Self-reported reasons for including specific individuals in their chosen families were love and acceptance (n = 135; 90.0%), support (n = 100; 66.7%), blood and family ties (n = 37; 24.7%), and commonality (n = 28; 18.7%). Demographic and personal characteristics were unrelated to these themes, supporting the conclusion that reasons for choosing family members are universal across these variables. These findings emphasize the need for health care providers to encourage the development of friendships and relationships between PLWH and those who provide love and acceptance, support, blood/familial ties, and common interests.
Copyright © 2013 Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.