Life with HIV and Cancer

These three videos on ‘Life with HIV and Cancer’ feature the powerful accounts of three people who have generously shared their stories.

The idea for these videos came from the work of Dr Emma Hainsworth, a nurse researcher currently based at the Royal Marsden Hospital, as part of her PhD which explored the experiences of people living with HIV who were treated for cancer. This work revealed that both conditions had a powerful impact but were experienced differently. Cancer exerted visible pressures such as physical illness and toxic side effects but was socially acceptable and possible to talk about and seek support. HIV, despite being well managed with treatment, carried with it invisible pressures and tensions associated with stigma which forced people to manage information and carry the added burden of fear the judgement and discrimination.1

The videos were funded by a National HIV Nurses Association (NHIVNA) Research Award. Following a workshop of key experts, it was agreed that video would be a powerful medium for raising awareness and educating on the patient experience for those providing care for people living with HIV and cancer. Three people with lived experience of HIV and cancer agreed to share their stories and, following an approach of co-creation the videos were filmed by the participants themselves. They highlight 3 areas of importance for clinicians:

  • Caring for the Whole Person

  • Challenging Stigma

  • HIV Get up to Speed

We would like to thank Virginia, Gordon and Susan for sharing their experiences so candidly and providing such valuable learning for all who work in healthcare.

1Hainsworth, EG, Shahmanesh, M and Stevenson, F. (2020). HIV positive and treated for cancer: The convergence of pressures “invisible” in HIV and “visible” in cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care 5 January 2020