The thorny issue of status disclosure to children living with HIV: the case of HIV positive children living in a child and youth care facility in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Harms Smith, Linda
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DUBE, N. and HARMS SMITH, L. 2016. The thorny issue of status disclosure to children living with HIV: the case of HIV positive children living in a child and youth care facility in Johannesburg, South Africa. Southern African journal of social work and social development [online], 28(1), pages 53-68. Available from: https://doi.org/10.25159/2415-5829/1350
There is a dilemma regarding HIV/AIDS disclosure to children born and living with HIV/AIDS in residential settings. Since the advent and accessibility of Anti-Retroviral Therapy, most children born HIV positive live longer and have healthier lives. Some of these children find themselves in Need of Care due to abandonment, orphanhood and neglect or abuse, and are placed in alternative care such as a Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC). Social Service Workers are then faced with this dilemma around disclosure of their HIV status, due to the complexities around the consequences of such a disclosure, and the absence of clear policies in this regard. The study explored the perceptions of social service workers regarding disclosure of HIV status to children born HIV positive living in a CYCC in Ekurhuleni, South Africa. The findings indicate that HIV status disclosure is a complex but essential process as it reinforces children’s ability to adhere to medication and dispels anxiety and suspicion within themselves around their status. Recommendations relate to community education and awareness programmes, policy and practice changes and makes suggestions for future research.