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Coping with HIV/AIDS: A case study of the psychological experiences of poor, HIV positive mothers and women caregivers on HAART

Year: 2005
Working paper number: 120
Author: Brandt, René
Unit: ASRU
Abstract:

The primary objective of the current study is to investigate the psychological experiences of HIV positive mothers and women caregivers on antiretroviral therapy, and the strategies they employ to cope psychologically. It is also intended to inform both the content and method of ongoing work on maternal well-being and caregiving in HIV affected environments. Five HIV positive women caregivers were interviewed. They had been receiving antiretroviral therapy for less than six months and were the primary caregiver of at least one HIV negative child who was less than six years old. Each woman was administered a questionnaire and a semi-structured interview was conducted. The key issues which emerged were the complexity of women's psychological functioning, the fact that many women made strategic decisions about disclosure aimed at protecting important social networks, and that it was necessary to view well-being over time as a function of both situational and dynamic factors, such as changes in household composition. Women also spoke of consistent concerns about dying before their children were able to care for themselves. The study provides evidence for the value of adopting a contextual approach to investigating the psychological functioning of HIV positive mothers and women caregivers living in communities in which HIV is highly prevalent and poverty endemic.


Publication file: wp120.pdf
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