Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa
Studies that examined self-disclosure by adolescents with perinatal acquired HIV (PAH) suggest that disclosure to sexual partners and friends remains low particularly in developing countries. The potential transmission of HIV to sexual partners if adolescents with PAH do not disclose is high. The study explored the views of adolescents with PAH about disclosure, onward self-disclosure, and intentions to disclose to friends, sexual partners, and others.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 22 adolescents aged 15–19 years who were enrolled in an HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa. Four themes emerged to describe the adolescents’ views about disclosure. These were 1) keeping HIV status a secret; 2) desire to control who to disclose to; 3) support for disclosure; and 4) intentions to disclose. Most adolescents chose not to disclose to sexual partners, only three out of 22 adolescents disclosed. They believed their HIV status was their secret and they maintained secrecy in order to protect themselves from stigma, discrimination, and rejection. They also desired to control disclosure of their HIV positive status to extended family members in particular. They raised concerns about social disclosure, and felt that their caregivers disclosed their HIV positive status to other family members and school teachers without their consent. They felt that caregivers and health care workers needed support to handle disclosure. They intent to disclose when the time is right, and the right time would be informed by various occurrences in their relationships such as when they become sexually active. Adolescents desire to control disclosure of their HIV status to family, friends and sexual partners. Interventions to support disclosure should empower caregivers, health workers and adolescents with PAH to disclose
Sphiwe Madiba is professor in the School of Public Health at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (Pretoria, South Africa). She is a public health specialist with 15 years of experience in post graduate teaching. Her research concerns social aspects of HIV and AIDS with a focus on disclosure of HIV positive status and adolescent sexual health and HIV prevention. She has authored and co-authored more than 50 articles published in reputed journals. She has presented research papers in national and international conferences. She is an editor for PULA: Botswana Journal of African studies and a reviewer of several international journals. She holds a Doctor of Public Health degree