AIDS care 2017 10 04() 1-9 doi 10.1080/09540121.2017.1381332
A systematic review of the literature was conducted to find out what is known about patients’ experiences of a dual diagnosis of HIV and cancer. We systematically searched the following databases; MEDLINE (Ovid Version); CINAHL Plus; PsycINFO and EMBASE from inception to June 2016 for studies that included patients with a dual diagnosis of cancer and HIV and focused on patient experiences. Studies with a focus on one illness rather than a dual diagnosis, those that focused on treatment strategies and medical management, epidemiology and pathology studies and comparison studies were all excluded. The full text of the included studies were reviewed. Information on location, sample size, study design and a narrative summary of findings were extracted using a standardised format. Studies were combined thematically. 1777 records were screened by title and abstract using the selection criteria described in the methods. Eight records were reviewed in depth in full text and seven selected as eligible. The selected studies suggest that a dual diagnosis of HIV and cancer has a powerful impact on individuals’ behaviour. The experience of stigma was a consistent factor in all patient accounts and the strategy of selective disclosure to access support reveals how patient agency can interplay with stigma. This is an area largely unexplored in the published literature; further research into patients’ experiences of a dual diagnosis of HIV and cancer will provide relevant knowledge in order to tailor and improve services.