The psychosocial experiences of adolescents living with HIV & AIDS in the North-West Province
Sander, Cherise Nicolle
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Objectives: This study aimed at investigating the psychosocial experiences of adolescents who are living with HIV & AIDS within the North-West Province of South Africa. Method: A qualitative methodological approach was employed, using a combination of five perinatally and horizontally infected adolescents, aged 16-19 years. Semi- structured interviews were employed to draw data from the adolescents in this study and a convenient purposive sample was employed in this study. Results: The main themes which emerged included (1) negative experiences, (2) experiences in relation to ARVs and (3) coping strategies. The negative psychosocial experiences included sickness and pain; feelings about the participant's death, negative self-concept, poor romantic relations; fear of disclosure, social rejection, stigma and discrimination and social isolation. Experiences in relation to ARVs included positive experiences such as protecting the body and negative experiences included inconvenience, side-effects and adherence. The adolescents in this study coped through employing positive coping strategies such as self-acceptance and seeking psychosocial support. Conclusion: In conclusion, the adolescents in this study largely identified with negative social and emotional/psychological experiences and the use of ARVs proposed both positive and negative experiences for them. Recommendations: Individual psychological services should be customized for HIV positive adolescents with the purposes of facilitating the complicated grieving processes which this population face; to develop more positive self-constructions, and teach more effective disclosure amongst such populations. Interventions promoted at the community level as an effort to reduce stigma and discrimination from community members.
- Humanities