Two-spirit men in Winnipeg and the experience of HIV/AIDS

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Jackson, Randall,
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This exploratory study describes the everyday life concerns of seven HIV-positive two-spirit men living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The focus of this study is on the intersection between presenting one self as gay and Aboriginal, and the reconstruction of identity following a positive diagnosis for HIV disease. Guided by standpoint epistemology, notions of "the other," phenomenology and use of the medicine wheel, qualitative methods were utilized to collect and analyse the data. Findings revealed a coalescing of themes around four discrete categories that express the essence of participants' experience of HIV infection and AIDS. This study highlights (1) how these men experienced life prior to diagnosis, (2) how they deal with the initial knowledge of HIV infection, (3) what everyday life with HIV entails, and (4) how they cope with future representation of HIV as illness. In examining these themes, this study reveals how these men imbue their on-going struggles with HIV/AIDS with a sense of spirit, focus, and emotional strength using cultural resources.