Healthcare professionals' perspectives on HIV disclosure of a parent's and a child's illness in Kenya

Type Journal Article - PeerJ PrePrints
Title Healthcare professionals' perspectives on HIV disclosure of a parent's and a child's illness in Kenya
Volume 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers e1726v1
Background: Many HIV-affected families have both parent(s) and child(ren) infected. HIV
disclosure to children continues to be a great global challenge for HIV-positive parents and
healthcare professionals (HCPs); parents and HCPs differ on how and when to disclose to
children. Methods: Six HCPs including a physician, clinical officer, psychologist, registered
nurse, social worker, and a peer educator participated in a larger qualitative
phenomenological study conducted to describe the lived experiences of HIV-positive
parents and their children during the disclosure process in Kenya. Each HCP underwent an
in-depth, semi-structured interview; transcribed data were analyzed using the modified
Van Kaam method in NVivo8. Results: Despite HCPs providing parents with regular advice
on the benefits of HIV disclosure, fear of stigma, discrimination, and disclosure
consequences caused parents to delay disclosure of a parent’s and/or a child’s illness to
their HIV-negative and positive children respectively for lengthy periods. While awaiting
parental consent for full disclosure, HCPs were forced to provide age-appropriate diseaserelated
information to children. HCPs preference however, was to fully disclose to children
in their parents’ presence at the clinic, when children started asking questions and/or
displayed maturity and understanding of the illness. Conclusion: Parents are known to
prefer disclosing to their children at a time and place of their choosing. Conversely, it
appears that HCPs may prefer to disclose to children when they judge the time as being
right. For favorable disclosure outcomes, further studies are needed to reconcile the most
suitable timing, setting, and person to disclose to HIV-positive and negative children.

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