The experience of adolescents living in households with mothers who are HIV/Aids positive
Tsweleng, Mmapula Petunia
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South Africa is reported to have the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS infections in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result the quality of life of families living with HIV/AIDS is negatively affected. Literature indicates that the majority of affected persons are young children and adolescents whose siblings or parents are infected with HIV/AIDS. Most affected adolescents are reported to have difficult social lives due to their parent's illness, difficult financial situations at home, stigma and discrimination within the society. The study attempts to explore the experiences of adolescents in households where the mother is HIV/AIDS positive. This research project is an exploratory study using a narrative approach within a qualitative methodological design. The study was conducted with 6 Xhosa-speaking adolescent boys (2) and girls (4) aged 12 to 15 years. An open-ended interview schedule was used to prompt participants to tell their stories. Data was collected by means of a voice recorder in order for adolescents to tell their stories. The responses were transcribed verbatim, translated and verified with the participants. The data were analysed by means of narrative analysis. The results indicate that most adolescent participants were coping with the mother being HIV/AIDS positive and maintained hope for their futures. Adolescents were coping due to support from friends and relatives. Some adolescents experienced rejection and discrimination. The biggest challenge in the home was due to socioeconomic status. The study is intended to benefit the community in terms of making recommendations to social workers at NGO's and the government sectors in terms of strengthening the existing support programmes in the community.