Training caregivers to disclose the HIV status to Peruvian children living with HIV
P. Salazar Ramírez1, L. Liendo1, A. Buffarni2, M. Blas1
1Via Libre, Lima, Peru, 2University of Washington, Washington, United States
Issues: Caregivers of HIV-positive children face the inevitable challenge of disclosing the child's HIV status to him/her, a conversation often prompted by the child questioning the purpose of daily ARV consumption.
Description: From 2004-2009 the Peruvian NGO Via Libre has worked with 707 HIV-positive children, adolescents and their families to improve their health and wellbeing. Through individual training sessions designed to help caregivers disclose children's HIV status to children eight years and older, we emphasize four components: information about transmission, ARVs (purpose, importance of daily dosage, learning the specific names of the medications), confidentiality among caretakers and doctors about their status, and reassurance that they can still study, play, fall in love and have children while living with HIV and taking ARVs. Once children learn their status, they are invited to take part in a peer support group, where they can share experiences with one another. In addition to HIV disclosure sessions, we also provide caregivers with information and skills to address issues of sexuality, health care and adherence with their children and teens.
Lessons learned: Ninety percent of caregivers with whom we work have taken part in these training sessions. Caregivers have expressed increased confidence in both their knowledge and ability to share this information with their children in a clear and precise way. Moreoever, they have informed other caregivers about the benefits of these sessions and of the advantages of their children knowing their HIV status.
Next steps: In the future we aim to involve the children and youth themselves in talking with caregivers (predominately grandmothers) who are reluctant to discuss HIV with their children about the importance of disclosure.
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