Uncertainty and 'technological horizon' in qualitative interviews about HIV treatment

Mark Davis, Jamie Frankis, Paul Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Treatment (HAART) has reduced death and morbidity among people with HIV. However, HAART is not always effective, can produce serious side-effects and implies uncertainty for patients. To address HAART-related uncertainty, 20 qualitative interviews were conducted with gay men with HIV in Glasgow and London. The interviewees were purposively selected to reflect diversity in terms of year of diagnosis, experiences of illness and treatment-related side-effects. The interviews were analysed using the constant comparison method to derive themes. Among those using HAART, analysis identified themes of 'good health', 'illness' and 'loss of confidence'. Uncertainty was managed through a discourse of 'technological horizon' that combined the ongoing innovations of HAART and biographical time. These themes are discussed in terms of the implications for HIV care. In particular, technological horizon provides a basis for the management of uncertainty in the prescribing relationship between patient and clinician.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-344
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


  • gay men
  • HIV treatment
  • innovative health technologies
  • qualitative research
  • uncertainty

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