Experiences of young adults growing up with innate or early acquired HIV infection--a qualitative study

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Rydström, L.-L. ; Ygge, B.-M. ; Tingberg, B. ; Navér, L. ; Eriksson, L. E. (2013)

Aim. To explore the experience of young adults growing up and living with HIV in urban Sweden.\ud \ud Background. HIV has become a widespread pandemic. Effective antiretroviral treatment has dramatically increased the survival rate of infected individuals such that HIV-infection is currently considered a chronic disease where treatment is available. Data concerning the experience of living with HIV since early childhood is scarce and more empirical knowledge is needed in order to direct the development of adequate care and interventions for this growing demographic. \ud \ud Design. Exploratory qualitative study.\ud \ud Method. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten HIV-infected young adults over the period from January to August 2008. Transcripts of the interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.\ud \ud Findings. The analysis revealed five categories illustrating the experiences of growing up and living with HIV in Sweden: 1) to protect oneself from the risk of being stigmatised, 2) to be in control, 3) losses in life but HIV is not a big deal, 4) health care/health care providers, and 5) belief in the future. \ud \ud Conclusion. It is essential to offer a safe, trustworthy and professional health-care environment during the upbringing of HIV-infected children. Evidence-based interventions are needed to improve care and support, particularly regarding the handling of stigma and discrimination.
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