XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Milestones in the life trajectories of adolescents of the first generation of children living with HIV/AIDS in Argentina

A. Adaszko1,2

1Programa de Antropología y Salud, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2Dirección de Sida y ETS, Ministerio de Salud de la Naciónón de, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Background: In Argentina live more than 3,000 infected children, most of them grown up in context of poverty, to which specific vulnerability caused by HIV/AIDS are added. The aim of this presentation is to identify the milestones in the life trajectories of young survivors of the first generation of children infected and analyze the narrative processes they rebuild their past with.
Methods: Study based on anthropological in-depth interviews to 25 young people aged between 13 and 19 years, treated at health services in metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, 23 infected by vertical transmission and 2 through transfusions.
Results: Their childhood took place in poverty contexts, with many situations of violence not related to HIV/AIDS, although they do constitute the background of their health / disease / care process. Most of them did not suffer episodes of discrimination. Until what was possible, their parents did what was to their reach to protect them. Their life was closely tied to their grandparents before and after the death of parents. Delayed diagnoses were common, as well as opportunistic infections, hospitalizations and duels. We found three ways to tell their stories:
(a) A happy seamless childhood until the present,
(b) a childhood truncated by duels and episodes of discrimination; and
(c) an unhappy childhood in which a sort of saving figure entered in scene.
Conclusions: Although diagnosis may have constituted milestones in their careers, few remember them. In contrast, death of parents is experienced as the most significant event that may have produced the move to another home -rarely-institutionalization-, separation of siblings, the first consideration of his own condition, the interruption of studies or treatments, the first fantasies about his own death.

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