Impct of HIV Status Disclosure on the psychological well-being of HIV positive adolescents

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Ng'onga, Hellen
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Background: Globally the HIV infection status amongst adolescents aged 13 – 24 years estimates high prevalence of infection among adolescents, most without knowing that they are infected; making it difficult for them to access necessary care and support UNICEF (2011). Zambia has recorded equally high prevalence rate though there have been increased numbers of children surviving into adolescents in the era of improved treatment and care (WHO, 2004).Studies suggest that children who knew their HIV status had higher self esteem than children who did not know their status. The study was thus aimed at investigating the impact of disclosure of HIV positive status to HIV positive adolescents and social support on their psychological well-being.Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study. A sample of 80, participants was recruited randomly using the Kth method of randomization from centre of excellence, UTH. Forty with disclosed and 40 undisclosed infection status within the age group 11 to 15 years. The measures used for data collection were; the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire- Youth version (SDQ-Y)Goodman (1997) to determine the Psychological well-being of HIV positive adolescents with regard to disclosure.Social Support from Friends (PSS - Fr) Weinert at al (1987)was used to measure perceived social support from friends and family with regard to psychological well-being. Both measures have demonstrated both good reliability and validity for use in this study because they have been used before in similar situations with HIV populations.Socio- demographic questionnaire designed for this study was also used for demographic data.Data Analysis: The researcher used the Software Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for data analysis. Descriptive statistics included mean and chi square. Comparison between the two status groups was done using the Mann Whitney U – test and the correlation analysis explore the relationship of status disclosure and social support on the psychological well- being.Results: Eighty questionnaires were distributed; 70 were completed and returned, giving a response rate of 87.5%. Forty two (60.0%) of the 70 participants were female and 28 (40.0%) male. Average age was 13.5, the minimum 11 and the maximum 15years.Psychological well-being was calculated by combining the four sub scale scores (except pro-social) and a Mann Whitney U test revealed a very strong significant relationship between status disclosure and psychological well-being; indicating that participants who had their status disclosed to them had a better psychological well-being than the undisclosed groups.A correlations coefficient analysis was conducted to determine the significant relationship between status disclosure and social support on the psychological well-being showed that though there was a weak negative correlation between psychological well-being and social support, the relationship was not significant.Conclusion: This study revealed that there was a strong significant relationship between HIV status disclosure and psychological well being. But there was no significant relationship between social support and status disclosure on the psychological well being. This statement addresses the current knowledge and recommendations that adolescents should know their HIV status and should be fully informed and counseled about all aspects of their health, including their sexual behavior.
AIDS(Disease)-Patients , HIV/AIDS-Psychology