Mothers’ experiences of disclosure to their children of their HIV-positive status at a local hospital in the Western Cape area: A Social work perspective
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Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is been researched and reported available worldwide and it has been reported to work; children on treatment live longer periods of life. Tygerberg Hospital (TBH) is one of the well-known academic healthcare institutions located in Parow, Western Cape, South Africa with several units including the paediatric unit. This research unit situated at TBH is focused on pharmaceutical trials and consists of approximately 500 children actively participating in the study, as well as approximately 300 pregnant mothers. This study aimed at exploring the experiences of mothers who have disclosed to children about their HIV-positive status, as well as exploring interventions to assist disclosure. The ethics of care is the theoretical framework utilised in the study. The population was mothers whose children are HIV-positive and the purposive sample included approximately four social workers and ten mothers who have been cognisant about disclosing to their children their HIV status. Key informants included social workers who dealt with these cases interviewed to triangulate the data. The interviews were conducted at the social worker's office located at TBH paediatrics unit. The study is qualitative with explorative and descriptive research design. Data was collected through in-depth semi-structured interviews transcribed verbatim. Data analysis was utilised to develop themes and sub-themes on the topic. Ethics considerations were adhered to. The findings highlighted challenges that mothers encountered during the process of disclosing, particularly a sense of shame and fear how their children and their communities will respond. There was a mixed response to how mothers felt about support from social workers and other care workers at the hospital, including the local clinics and there was a strong belief that training should be secured so that mothers can be empowered to do HIV disclosure to their HIV positive children.