Assessing Quality of Life has become a prominent adjunct to clinical research on people living with HIV (PLH). Most research in this field is US based and has primarily utilised quantitative methods. Findings have suggested considerable impact of HIV on the lives of PLH. This study aimed to describe and explore the lived experience of PLH in Ireland, using mixed methods to explore their everyday challenges. Findings suggested that HIV imposed severe physical and emotional distress in PLH, to the extent that most individuals were unable to remain in paid employment and subsequently suffered financial hardship. PLH existed within atypical social support networks that in essence comprised those whom PLH decided to disclose their diagnosis to. PLH lived complex lives that embraced dependent behaviours such as drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution and self-harm activities. Following a diagnosis of HIV, subsequent behaviours of PLH were partly guided by their interactions with health and social care personnel. Such interactions were generally positive and PLH reported satisfaction with care and treatment, but there were examples of bad practice.