Browsing Theses and Dissertations School of Social Work by Subject "Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome--psychology"
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The social support needs of persons with HIV and AIDS: The case of clients with buddies at the Health Education Resource Organization (HERO)An orientational qualitative inquiry was conducted to explore and describe the problems and social support needs of people with HIV and AIDS who have buddies, and the extent to which those needs are met, especially by buddies. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with thirty clients from an agency in Baltimore City that provides social support to people with HIV and AIDS. The sample consisted of gay clients, clients with histories of injecting drug use (IDU), and partners of IDUs. Findings revealed that all informants need emotional support; social support involving the sharing of pertinent information about the disease by professionals and the buddy; perceived available support from buddies, friends, and relatives; and social support that encourages them to share experiences as persons living with HIV and AIDS. Clients with histories of IDU needed strong role models and participated in many formal social support groups such as Methadone Maintenance support groups and HIV/AIDS support groups. Overall, findings suggest that social support provided by buddies is unique largely because informants want to be assured at all times that there is someone available for them who will not turn them away.