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The narratives of families affected by HIV/AIDS in the Vaal Triangle
Serame, Sibongile Agnes
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The aims of this research were to determine the narratives of families affected by HIVIAIDS, and to suggest ways in which to psychologically and socially strengthen these families. On the one hand, the literature investigation revealed that HIVIAIDS has led to the emergence of new family forms such as "skip-generation" families, where the parent generation has succumbed HIVIAIDS-related illnesses and the families are made up of grand-parents and orphaned grand-children; and child-headed families, where an older sibling cares for the younger ones. Usually, grandparents and other relatives are not available. On the other hand, the empirical investigation narratives revealed that HIV/AIDS is still a taboo even in families with HIV positive members, and family members affected by HlV/AlDS suffer discrimination within their families and their communities. The study recommended, among many other things, the infusion of narrative therapy in programmes geared to help families affected by the HIVIAIDS epidemic deal with their psycho-social plights. The use of a reflecting team was highlighted as useful as a way to generate new ideas and expand narrative therapeutic possibilities for both the family affected by AIDS and psychotherapists. The use of a reflecting team was also highlighted as offering families an opportunity to connect and collaborate in ways that remove hierarchical barriers and open the communication for co-constructing new meanings and co-generate options for action in their struggle to live with the fatal disease in their family. The goal of a reflecting team is to maintain a collaborative stance by recognizing the family members' expertise of lived experiences. A need for schools to develop a training curriculum in HIV related mental health issues for children and their families for mental health was highlighted, covering stage-specific issues occurring over the course of HIV progression, parental death and family reconfiguration. The curricular format can include didactic material and illustrative clinical material and can utilize an interactive approach to improve the skills and knowledge of children and their families
- Education