HIV-positive parents, HIV-positive children, and HIV-negative children’s perspectives on disclosure of a parent’s and child’s illness in Kenya
HIV disclosure from parent to child is complex and challenging to HIV-positive parents and healthcare professionals. The purpose of the study was to understand the lived experiences of HIV-positive parents and their children during the disclosure process in Kenya. Sixteen HIV-positive parents, seven HIV-positive children, and five HIV-negative children completed semistructured, in-depth interviews. Data were analyzed using the Van Kaam method; NVivo 8 software was used to assist data analysis. We present data on the process of disclosure based on how participants recommended full disclosure be approached to HIV-positive and negative children. Participants recommended disclosure as a process starting at five years with full disclosure delivered at 10 years when the child was capable of understanding the illness, or by 14 years when the child was mature enough to receive the news if full disclosure had not been conducted earlier. Important considerations at the time of full disclosure included the parent’s and/or child’s health statuses, number of infected family members’ illnesses to be disclosed to the child, child’s maturity and understanding level, and the person best suited to deliver full disclosure to the child. The results also revealed it was important to address important life events such as taking a national school examination during disclosure planning and delivery. Recommendations are made for inclusion into HIV disclosure guidelines, manuals, and programs in resource-poor nations with high HIV prevalence.