Original Research

Social support experiences of adolescents living with perinatal HIV in rural Limpopo, South Africa

Rirhandzu A. Mabasa, Linda Skaal, Tebogo M. Mothiba
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 25, No 1 | a1521 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v25i1.1521 | © 2024 Rirhandzu Austice Mabasa, Linda Skaal, Tebogo Maria Mothiba | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 August 2023 | Published: 04 July 2024

About the author(s)

Rirhandzu A. Mabasa, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Linda Skaal, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Tebogo M. Mothiba, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Adolescents with perinatal HIV (APHIV) experience emotional turmoil, which is worsened by real or perceived negative impacts on the adolescents’ relationships, aspirations for their careers, and aspirations for their families.

Objectives: To explore the experiences of APHIV with regard to social support on their mental health and general well-being in the Vhembe District of Limpopo province.

Method: A mixed-methods sequential exploratory design was employed to conduct in-depth one-on-one interviews in the Vhembe District of the Limpopo province of South Africa. The interviews were conducted in selected community health centres and clinics over a period of four months (April 2019 - July 2019). This study included APHIV between the ages of 10 years and 19 years who had been initiated on antiretroviral therapy before the age of 10 years.

Results: Two major themes emerged. Theme 1 – Experiences within the family – included the sub-themes experience of positive social support within the family, and lack of support in the family. Theme 2 – Experiences outside the family – included the sub-themes experiences at the clinic, experiences at community level, and experiences at school and with friends.

Conclusion: Adolescents with perinatal HIV are in need of social support from their loved ones as well as the community. Expansion of household programmes and intervention through integration of services by the multidisciplinary team might assist with alleviating the social support needs which will improve their mental health and adherence to treatment.


Keywords

adolescents; perinatal; HIV; social; support; experiences; rural

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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