n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Parental disclosure of HIV positive status to HIV-uninfected children and their reactions to disclosure in Ekurhuleni district, Gauteng Province, South Africa : perspectives of HIV and AIDS across populations

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


The largest populations of HIV-infected patients live in Africa and care for many un-infected children, this has heightened the need for disclosure of parental HIV status to un-infected children. However, existing literature in sub-Saharan shows low parental disclosure rates. The study sought to determine reasons for parental disclosure and non-disclosure of HIV status to uninfected children and examine the reactions of children to disclosure. A cross sectional survey was conducted among HIV-infected parents of children aged 6-18 years attending a primary health care clinic at Ekurhuleni district, Gauteng province. The sample consisted of 340 HIV-infected adult patients. There were more females 235 (69%) than males 105 (31%). Over half (n=197, 57.9%) had known about their HIV status for 1-5 years, 210 (63%) tested because they were sick, 215 (72.9%) were receiving ART for 1-5 years, 105 (31%) disclosed to children and 26 (26.4%) disclosed immediately after testing. Based on parents reports, the majority (n=74, 68%) of children were sad, worried, angry, confused, shocked, tearful, scared, and distressed after parental disclosure. Non-disclosed parents believed that the child was too young to understand, 217 (94.8%) planned to disclose in the future, and 129 (57.1%) said 21-25 years was the ideal age for disclosure. Non-disclosed parents were not totally against disclosure but were fearful of the perceived negative consequences of disclosure. Health care-workers can play a crucial role in supporting parents to disclose but also offer specific counselling and support to children before and after parental disclosure.

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