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Enhancing psychosocial support for HIV positive adolescents in Harare, Zimbabwe

Publication year: 
2013
Author (s): 
Mavhu, Webster [et al.]
Publication details: 
Harare, University of Zimbabwe, 2013
Publication in: 
Plos One, Vol. 8, Issue 7, Jul. 2013
Abstract:

There is a recognized gap in the evidence base relating to the nature and components of interventions to address the psycho-social needs of HIV positive young people. We used mixed methods research to strengthen a community support group intervention for HIV positive young people based in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Results: 229/310 young people completed the quantitative questionnaire (74% participation). Median age was 14 (range 6–18 years); 59% were female. Self-reported adherence to antiretrovirals was sub-optimal. Psychological well being was poor (median score on Shona Symptom Questionnaire 9/14); 63% were at risk of depression. Qualitative findings suggested that challenges faced by positive children include verbal abuse, stigma, and discrimination. While data showed that support group attendance is helpful, young people stressed that life outside the confines of the group was more challenging. Caregivers felt ill- equipped to support the children in their care. These data, combined with a previously validated conceptual framework for family-centred interventions, were used to guide the development of the existing programme of adolescent support groups into a more comprehensive evidence-based psychosocial support programme encompassing caregiver and household members.
Conclusions: This study allowed us to describe the lived experiences of HIV positive young people and their caregivers in Zimbabwe. The findings contributed to the enhancement of Africaid’s existing programme of support to better promote psychological well being and ART adherence.