Journal of
AIDS and HIV Research

  • Abbreviation: J. AIDS HIV Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2359
  • DOI: 10.5897/JAHR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 283

Full Length Research Paper

Mental health challenges of the lived experiences of adolescents orphaned by HIV and AIDS in South Africa

Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae
  • Gloria Thupayagale-Tshweneagae
  • University of Botswana, P. O. Box, 47073, Gaborone, Botswana.
  • Google Scholar
Susan, D. Wright
  • Susan, D. Wright
  • Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
  • Google Scholar
William A. Hoffmann
  • William A. Hoffmann
  • Adelaide Tambo School of Nursing, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.
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  •  Accepted: 16 November 2009
  •  Published: 31 January 2010

Abstract

Situational analysis approach was used to explore the mental health challenges of the lived experiences of adolescents aged 14 to 18 years living in South Africa who have lost their parents to HIV and AIDS. A qualitative phenomenological approach using reflective diaries was used to extract the lived experiences. Fifteen adolescents orphaned by HIV and AIDS aged between 14 to 18 years participated in the study. Eight adolescents made weekly entries for eight months and 7 of the participants brought empty diaries. Two major themes of experiences with loss and expressed emotions emerged from the reflective diaries. Experiences with loss had three subthemes of personal experience with loss, experiences with adoptive families and experiences at school. Anger, discrimination and not being told the truth were espoused from the diaries as mental health challenges. Expressed emotions included expression of anxiety, guilt, pretence, denial and hope. It became clear from these experiences and expressed emotions that adolescents orphaned by HIV and AIDS need love, caring, support and to be given hope for the future.

 

Key words: Adolescents, lived experiences, mental health challenges, orphans, South Africa.