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

Authors

  • Lise-Lott Rydström MSc RN,

    PhD candidate, Corresponding author
    1. Karolinska University Hospital and Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
    • Division of Nursing, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
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  • Britt-Marie Ygge PhD RN,

    Research Fellow
    1. Karolinska University Hospital and Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Björn Tingberg PhD RN,

    Research Fellow
    1. Karolinska University Hospital and Department of Women's and Children's Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Lars Navèr MD PhD,

    Consultant in Pediatrics and Neonatology
    1. Department of Pediatrics, Karolinska University Hospital and the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology (CLINTEC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • Lars E. Eriksson PhD RN

    Associate Professor
    1. Division of Nursing, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
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Correspondence to L.-L. Rydström: e-mail: lise-lott.rydstrom@ki.se

Abstract

Aim

To explore the experience of young adults growing up and living with HIV in urban Sweden.

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 to direct the development of adequate care and interventions for this growing demographic.

Design

Exploratory qualitative study.

Method

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten HIV-infected young adults over the period from January–August 2008. Transcripts of the interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

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 stigmatized; (2) to be in control; (3) losses in life, but HIV is not a big deal; (4) health care/healthcare providers; and (5) belief in the future.

Conclusion

It is essential to offer a safe, trustworthy, and professional healthcare environment during the upbringing of HIV-infected children. Evidence-based interventions are needed to improve care and support, particularly about the handling of stigma and discrimination.

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