SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • adolescents;
  • human immunodeficiency virus;
  • loss in life;
  • nursing;
  • quality of life;
  • stigma;
  • young adult

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.