Individuals infected with HIV and AIDS and their families have to cope with a multitude of stressors. These chronic and stigmatized conditions can affect the overall functioning and lifestyle of affected children and their families. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of a child's illness on psychosocial issues for parents or caregivers and the problems they face. The descriptive study was carried out at Kasturba Medical College Hospital, Mangalore, India. In total, 27 parents or relatives of HIV-positive children were interviewed after obtaining consent. The male/female ratio of affected children was 0.9:1 and the majority of the children were >5 years of age. Ten children were looked after by both parents, 13 by one parent and four by relatives. The majority of the families had a per capita income of <Rs500 per month and a low education level. Of the three children who knew about their illness, two showed behavioral changes. HIV status was known in school for 12 of the 20 school-going children, and discrimination was observed in one case. Family members were supportive in 65% of cases and opposition and fear were the reactions in 30%. Healthcare providers were unsupportive in two cases. Monthly medical expenditure varied from Rs250 to Rs1500. Fifteen children were on antiretroviral therapy largely funded by voluntary organizations. Ninety two percent of the caregivers were aware of the modes of transmission, 85% of the preventive measures and 70% of the complications of HIV/AIDS. In conclusion, in spite of all the efforts raise awareness of HIV, social discrimination and stigmatization persist. General improvements in socioeconomic status and levels of knowledge and well-organized health programs will go a long way in the battle against HIV/AIDS.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Drug Discovery