Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Nursing (Nursing)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Joseph De Santis

Second Committee Member

Debbie Anglade

Third Committee Member

Steve Alves

Fourth Committee Member

Rosina Cianelli

Fifth Committee Member

Allan Rodriguez


HIV infection has remained a constant health problem in the United States and at the end of 2014, approximately 1.1 million people were living with HIV infection. During the HIV epidemic, Haitians were one of the four high-risk groups with the highest incidence of HIV infection known as the “4H” club identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although Haitians were listed among the “4H Club”, very few studies examined HIV infection among the Haitian American population in the US. Previous research reported that many Haitian Americans do not engage in HIV care and treatment and have worse treatment outcomes. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the process in which Haitian Americans decide to engage in HIV care and treatment. Utilizing grounded theory methodology for research design, data collection and data analysis, the researcher conducted 25 in-depth interviews with Haitian Americans in Miami Dade County, Florida. The participants shared experiences and the decision-making process for engaging in HIV care and treatment. The researcher used purposeful and snowball sampling to recruit participants from the University of Miami (UM) HIV Education group, the Batchelor Children’s Research Institute, and the UM Research Unit. The theory of Mwen Vle Viv: Haitian Americans Engaging in HIV Care and Treatment was constructed from the study findings. The theory included five categories: Leading to Testing, Reacting to the Diagnosis, Disassociating from Diagnosis, Starting in Care, Engaging in Care and Returning to “Normal." The study discussed the role of specific factors such as the Haitian culture, stigma, and spirituality in the process in which Haitian Americans decided to engage in HIV care and treatment. Also, the study provided a framework for healthcare workers to understand the elements that occurred when Haitian Americans engaged in HIV care and treatment. The results of this study were analyzed within the context of previous research conducted with Haitian Americans and individuals living with HIV infection. The study had significant implications for nursing education, nursing research, nursing practice, public health policy, and provided recommendations for future research among Haitian Americans living with HIV infection.


HIV; Haitian; Engagement; HIV care; HIV treatment; HIV Engagement

Available for download on Monday, July 27, 2020