Beliefs about HIV in Low-Income Nicaraguan Women

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In Latin America, women account for more than 30% of all HIV cases. However, minimal research has been reported on women's beliefs about HIV in Latin America. The purpose of our qualitative study was to describe HIV beliefs in a sample of low-income Nicaraguan women living in a squatter settlement in Managua. Participants (N = 34) were women who participated in four focus groups. The mean age of the women was 40 years, and the mean education level was 5 years. Women reported a plurality of beliefs about HIV, some of which were biomedically accurate while others were not. Themes of stigma and rejection emerged across all focus group discussions. Younger women were more informed than older women. The findings are instructive for nurses working with Nicaraguan women and may be useful in developing HIV education interventions with similar populations in other Latin American countries or with immigrants from those countries.

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