Psychosocial experiences of adolescents living with HIV and AIDS in Matlosana Sub-District, North West Province, South Africa
Background: Adolescence is an important developmental phase with many key life events happening in this phase. It is a stage of life that comes with its own challenges. Living with an extremely stigmatised disease such as HIV and AIDS is an overwhelming undertaking. Daily life is occupied with the demands of the multiple aspects of HIV management routine. Adolescents living with HIV and AIDS are even more challenged. They must not only cope with the demands of managing the disease, but also the normal developmental tasks of adolescence. Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the psychosocial experiences of adolescents living with HIV and AIDS in Matlosana Sub-District, North West Province, South Africa. Methodology: An exploratory qualitative method was used in conducting this study. Data was collected through interviews with 10 adolescents living with HIV and AIDS. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed word verbatim and translated. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: The findings of the study revealed that most adolescents living with HIV and AIDS struggle with psychosocial factors related to fear of disclosure and rejection, stigma, adherence to treatment and a desire to be "normal". The results indicate that although HIV is considered a stressor, some participants maintained hope for the future. The findings showed that support networks such as a support groups had a significant impact in assisting adolescents cope with their illness. Conclusion: It is important to provide effective and targeted psychological and social services that support the needs of adolescents to navigate safely through adolescence and improve their quality of life.
- Health Sciences