Social workers perspectives on social support needed by people living with HIV/AIDS

Kulu, Joyce Aliendar Nomvuyo (2014-04)

Thesis (M Social Work)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African government has laws and policies that forbid discrimination against individuals. These policies protect people from being discriminated against in the workplace due to sickness, race and many other factors. Discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS has caused many people who suffer from this disease not to come forward with their illness because they fear being discriminated against and stigmatised; some even lose their jobs because they are infected with HIV. People infected with HIV are discriminated against not only in the workplace but also in their communities and families. This implies that people living with HIV/AIDS need support from all levels of society in order to live positive lives, which may lead infected people to live longer. This study explored HIV/AIDS as terminal illness and the stressors experienced by people infected with the virus. This was done by examining the support available to people living with HIV/AIDS, as well as identifying the support needed by these people. By adopting an ecological approach to the study, the need for support could be investigated on multiple levels. A combination of a quantitative and qualitative research design was used in the study. Data were gathered by means of a semi-structured interview schedule that was administered during individual interviews with service providers. This allowed for data that were both measurable as well as rich in description to be collected. The questions in the semi-structured questionnaire were based on the information retrieved from the literature review. The findings from the empirical investigation revealed that people living with HIV/AIDS receive limited support from their families, the South African government and society at large. The findings further indicated that informal sources of support such as family, friends and partners are relatively supportive of people living with HIV/AIDS. However, the relationships between people living with HIV/AIDS and their families and partners are often strained, especially when a person first discovers his or her status as HIV positive. Furthermore, people living with HIV/AIDS are stigmatised on multiple levels because of their status. There is stigmatisation from family, friends, in the workplace and in the community. The most important recommendations resulting from the study are that services such as counselling are needed for people living with HIV/AIDS together with their families. This is of particular significance to the South African government, especially the health sector, which needs to improve the health care system. In addition, recommendations emphasise the importance of promoting education and awareness, which could have great value for people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and communities. Knowledge about HIV/AIDS would empower people at all levels to support those who live with the disease and would also be of great value in helping those living with the disease to contribute something of value towards their health condition.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse regering beskik oor wette en beleide wat diskriminasie teen individue verbied. Hierdie wette en beleide beskerm mense teen diskriminasie in die werkplek, diskriminasie op grond van siekte, gestremdheid, ras en vele ander redes. Diskriminasie teen mense wat met MIV/vigs leef, laat baie van hulle hul MIV/vigs-status geheim hou omdat hulle diskriminasie en stigmatisasie vrees. Sommige verloor selfs hulle werk wanneer dit rugbaar word dat hulle aan MIV/vigs ly. Diegene met MIV/vigs ervaar egter nie net in die werkplek diskriminasie nie, maar ook in hul gemeenskappe en families. Dít impliseer dat mense met MIV/vigs op alle vlakke ondersteuning nodig het om ’n positiewe lewe te lei en daarmee hul lewensverwagting so ver moontlik te verleng. Hierdie studie het die stresfaktore van terminale MIV/vigs-lyers ondersoek. Daar is voorts ondersoek ingestel na die ondersteuning wat mense met MIV/vigs ontvang, sowel as die ondersteuning wat hulle nodig het. MIV/vigs-lyers se ondersteuningsbehoeftes op etlike vlakke is deur middel van ’n ekologiese navorsingsbenadering bepaal. ’n Kombinasie van ’n kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie is vir die studie gebruik. Data is met behulp van ’n semigestruktureerde vraelys ingesamel, wat gedurende individuele onderhoude met diensverskaffers afgeneem is. Sodoende kon meetbare sowel as hoogs beskrywende data ingesamel word. Die vrae in die semigestruktureerde vraelys was gegrond op die inligting uit die literatuuroorsig. Die bevindinge van die empiriese ondersoek toon dat mense wat met MIV/vigs leef beperkte ondersteuning van hul familie, die Suid-Afrikaanse regering en die groter samelewing ontvang. Die bevindinge dui voorts daarop dat informele ondersteuningsbronne, soos familie, vriende en lewensmaats, betreklik ondersteunend is teenoor diegene met MIV/vigs. Tog is die verhouding tussen MIV/vigs-lyers en hul families en lewensmaats ook dikwels onder druk, veral net nadat die persoon ontdek dat hy/sy MIV-positief is. Daarbenewens word mense met MIV/vigs op verskeie vlakke gestigmatiseer – deur hul familie, vriende, in die werkplek en die gemeenskap. Die belangrikste aanbeveling uit die studie handel oor die behoefte aan dienste soos berading vir mense wat met die virus leef, sowel as vir hul familie. Die aanbeveling behoort veral van belang te wees vir die Suid-Afrikaanse regering, en in die besonder die gesondheidsektor, wat hierdie behoefte in gedagte moet hou om die gesondheidsorgstelsel te verbeter. Ander aanbevelings beklemtoon die belang van meer opvoeding en bewusmaking, aangesien dit uiters waardevol kan wees vir mense met MIV/vigs, hul familie en gemeenskappe. Kennis oor MIV/vigs sal mense op alle vlakke bemagtig om diegene met die virus te ondersteun, terwyl dit MIV/vigs-lyers self ook sal help om hul eie gesondheidstoestand beter te bestuur.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86481
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