Experiences of Caregivers in Disclosing HIV Status to Children Infected with HIV in Mopani District, South Africa

The Open Nursing Journal 13 May 2024 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/0118744346270438240219103834



Caregivers are confronted with difficulties in determining the ideal period to initiate HIV disclosure to the child infected with HIV. Moreover, caregivers are uncertain about how to facilitate the HIV disclosure process, and opportunities to start the discussion are frequently missed until a later stage. Caregivers often fear that the child will be affected psychologically and have poor cognitive ability to comprehend the nature of the illness.


The objective of the study is to explore and describe the experiences of primary caregivers regarding HIV disclosure to children infected with HIV.


A qualitative, explorative, and descriptive study was conducted at 4 selected ART facilities in the Mopani district. Where face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted until data saturation with 16 primary caregivers. Data was analysed and coded using the ATLAS.ti 9 program, according to the thematic method of analysis.


Analysis of data identified three main themes that described the experience of caregivers regarding HIV disclosure in children, which are cues to disclose HIV status to children, experiences of the event of HIV status disclosure to children, and caregiver’s experiences of healthcare providers’ role in HIV disclosure process.


Caregivers revealed that they initiated the HIV disclosure process to the children because of their personal and child-related factors. However, they perceived HIV disclosure as a difficult process to initiate, because of lack of skills, knowledge, and support from healthcare providers. Caregivers perceived children as too young to receive HIV disclosure information and they feared that the child would react negatively.

Keywords: Disclosure, HIV status, Children, Experience, Caregivers, Primary.
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