A Couple’s Marital Disharmony and its Psychological Effects on their Children during the HIV Disclosure Process in Kenya

G. Gachanja


Limited published data exists on how HIV-positive parents perform disclosure to all their children. A couple’s HIV disclosure experience to all their children is presented. They participated in a larger study conducted to understand the lived experiences of HIV-positive parents and their children during the disclosure process. Each underwent individualized in-depth semi-structured interviews. Interviews were transcribed and transferred into NVivo 8 for analysis using the Van Kaam method. Three themes emerged including HIV testing, full disclosure delivery accompanied by marital disharmony, and post-disclosure psychological effects on the family. Marital disharmony and non-involvement of the father caused the mother to fully disclose their illnesses to their four oldest children. All children were affected by disclosure, one had a delayed emotional outburst, and another was still angry and withdrawn years later. HIV-positive parents with poor relationships within the families need intense counseling and support pre, during, and post-disclosure to improve outcomes.



HIV/AIDS; HIV disclosure; psychological effects of HIV disclosure; parent HIV status disclosure; resource-poor nation; Kenya

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2015.166


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