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The Self-Help Model of Service Provision as a Response to the Psychosocial Needs of People Living with HIV in Ireland – Laura Spring

Laura Spring


This paper is a summary of a dissertation presented to Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Dublin in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the MA degree in Development Studies. It explores the correlation between HIV, the psychosocial needs of an individual and their sense of wellbeing. One organisational response to thepsychosocial needs of people living with HIV- the ‘self-help model’ of service provision- is investigated through a case study approach and its effect on wellbeing is considered.

The primary research was conducted in Ireland in 2009 with 8 individuals, all of whom are HIV-positive and members of the case study organisation Open Heart House in Dublin. The findings clearly showed that HIV has profound psychosocial implications for the individual from the moment of diagnosis. The concept of HIV as a socially constructed entity and the inherent stigma was very evident from the research and appears to be a driving force behind the detrimental impact of HIV on a person’s psychosocial wellbeing. The research also showed that the self-help model of service provision presents an effective, holistic response to address the needs of a person living with HIV, the result of which is a perceived improvement in wellbeing.


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ISSN 2009-6976 (Online)
ISSN 2009-6968 (Print)

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