Themes related to children living with HIV/AIDS

Beetge, Lijahne (2007-03)

Assignment (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This review examines themes related to children, especially children under the age of fifteen, living with HIV/Aids. For review purposes themes include defining children living with HIV/Aids as a vulnerable population, the psychological impact of HIV/Aids on children, children’s coping with and perceptions of HIV/Aids. The global HIV/Aids pandemic has caused major worldwide social change. The impact, especially the psychological impact of HIV/Aids on children appears to be vast and at times disastrous in nature. HIV/Aids is estimated to affect the lives of several generations of children and the impact of the pandemic will therefore characterize their communities for decades to come as the numbers of affected and infected children are on the increase. It has been noted by research done that children living with HIV/Aids become impoverished, their insecurities worsen and their psychosocial and psychological problems increase. In addition their educational and work opportunities decline, their nurturing and support systems disintegrate, and child mortality rates rise. The necessity of psychological support for children affected and infected by HIV/Aids is directly linked to the rights of children listed in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the South African Constitution. Research reviewed points out that a child’s physical and psychological health is intertwined and therefore a child cannot be physically healthy without also being psychologically secure. Research reviewed also points out that it is of the utmost importance that the voices of children who live with HIV/Aids are heard, their involvement in decision making and planning related to HIV/Aids is allowed and that their needs are met, especially their psychological needs in relation to the pandemic. Overall the literature reviewed in the past four years (2003-2006) highlights the significantly under-investigated, under-researched themes such as psychological aspects related to children living with HIV/Aids, both in South Africa and internationally. These aspects surrounding HIV/Aids, as previously mentioned, also seem to be the least tangible and the most difficult for adults to address or comprehend fully and yet they impinge on all aspects of developing children - hence the identified need in this area for adequate research and psychological support, such as program implementation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie literatuuroorsig bied ’n ondersoek na die wêreldwye sosiale verandering en uitwerking wat die globale HIV/vigs-pandemie tot gevolg het. Daar word veral gelet op temas wat verwantskap hou met kinders, veral kinders vyftien jaar oud en jonger wat leef met HIV/vigs. Temas sluit in die definiëring van kinders as weerloos, kinders se hantering van HIV/vigs, hulle persepsies van HIV/vigs en hulle sielkundige behoeftes en ander aspekte met betrekking tot HIV/vigs. Die trefkrag van HIV/vigs blyk omvattend en by tye rampspoedig te wees. Na beraming beïnvloed HIV/vigs verskeie geslagte van kinders en die uitwerking van die pandemie sal dus dekades lank nog deel vorm van hulle gemeenskappe soos die aantal kinders wat geïnfekteer en geaffekteer is, toeneem. Navorsing toon dat kinders wat met HIV/vigs leef, verarm. Verder vererger hulle onsekerhede en hulle psigososiale en sielkundige probleme neem toe. Ook neem die kinders se opvoedkundige en werkgeleenthede af, hulle versorgings- en ondersteuningsnetwerke disintegreer en sterftesyfers neem toe. Die noodsaaklikheid van sielkundige ondersteuning vir kinders wat deur HIV/vigs geïnfekteer en geaffekteer is, word direk in verband gebring met die regte van kinders soos gelys in die Verenigde Nasies se Konvensie oor die Regte van die Kind en die Suid-Afrikaanse Grondwet. Die literatuuroorsig toon dat ‘n kind se fisieke en sielkundige gesondheid ten nouste met mekaar verband hou en daarom kan ’n kind nie fisiek gesond wees sonder om ook sielkundig geborge te wees nie. Verder dui navorsing ook op die kardinale belang daarvan dat kinders wat leef met HIV/vigs se stemme gehoor word, hulle betrokkenheid by besluitneming en beplanning verseker word en al hulle behoeftes bevredig word, veral hulle sielkundige behoeftes wat met die pandemie verband hou. Oor die algemeen beklemtoon die literatuuroorsig wat oor die afgelope vier jaar strek (2003-2006) dat daar nie voldoende navorsing gedoen is met betrekking tot temas wat verwantskap hou met kinders en HIV/vigs nie, nie alleen in Suid-Afrika nie, maar ook internasionaal. Hierdie bevindings is kommerwekkend veral omdat Suid-Afrika ‘n land is met onrusbarende groot getalle kinders wat deur HIV/vigs geïnfekteer is. Dit wil ook voorkom of hierdie aspekte wat te make het met kinders en HIV/vigs nie baie duidelik is vir volwassenes nie en ook die moeilikste is om te hanteer of ten volle te verstaan, hoewel dit alle aspekte van die kind se ontwikkeling raak. Vandaar die behoefte op hierdie gebied aan voldoende navorsing en sielkundige ondersteuning, soos program implementering.

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