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Abstract

HIV disclosure from parent to child is a complex and challenging issue that plagues parents and healthcare professionals. Little is known about how HIV-positive parents prepare themselves and their children for full disclosure and what resources they need. This study was conducted to understand the lived experiences of HIV-positive parents and their children during the disclosure process in Kenya, particularly the activities performed by parents in preparation for HIV disclosure. Qualitative phenomenological data was collected via in-depth semistructured interviews conducted with 16 HIV-positive parents with biological children aged 8–17 years who had no, partial, or full disclosure of their parent’s (or parents’) and/or a child’s illness. The Van Kaam method was used to analyze data using NVivo Version 8. A number of themes emerged, indicating that most parents take years to prepare, proceeding when they judge themselves and their children adequately prepared. Preparation activities included thinking about and making disclosure plans, improving family relationships, reading information, teaching children about the disease, seeking counseling, attending support group meetings, praying, and attending religious activities. As more resource-poor nations prepare their own HIV disclosure guidelines, data presented here should be incorporated into guidelines, manuals, and programs in countries that mirror the Kenyan culture.

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