Communication about HIV and death: Maternal reports of primary school-aged children’s questions after maternal HIV disclosure in rural South Africa

by Tamsen J. Rochat, Joanie Mitchell, Anina M. Lubbe et al.
Social Science & Medicine, Vol. 172, January 2017, pp. 124–134

11 pp. 628 kB

Children’s understanding of HIV and death in epidemic regions is under-researched. The authors investigated children’s death-related questions post maternal HIV-disclosure. They conclude that children living in HIV epidemic communities are exposed to death at young ages. Primary-school aged children understand information on HIV, illness and death. Intervention training successfully prepared mothers to communicate about death. Communication about death did not increase children’s mental health problems. HIV disclosure creates opportunities to communicate with and reassure children.

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