• Adolescents;
  • AIDS;
  • Orphans;
  • Photography;
  • Photo-Elicitation;
  • South Africa

THUPAYAGALE-TSHWENEAGAE G. & MOKOMANE Z. (2013) Needs of South African adolescents orphaned by AIDS: evidence from photography and photo-elicitation. International Nursing Review60, 88–95

Background:  Available evidence shows that over half of all orphans under the age of 18 years are adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. Despite this, the needs of adolescents orphaned by AIDS are seldom recognized or adequately addressed in policy and programmes. Instead, the focus tends to be on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children. However, there are several factors that render adolescent-specific programmes important.

Purpose:  Using data from an urban area in South Africa, this paper illuminates the needs of adolescents orphaned by AIDS.

Method:  A phenomenological study using photography and photo-elicitation was used with 15 adolescents aged between 14 and 18 years orphaned by AIDS.

Results:  The study participants captured different objects that were grouped under six broad themes: symbols of death, nature, people, past life, children and hope. The photographic component of the study was followed by photo-elicitation. From the meanings the adolescents made of their images, the needs of adolescents orphaned by AIDS were discerned as love, care and acceptance, safety, and security and support.

Conclusion:  Overall, the results showed that adolescents orphaned by AIDS want to feel secure, safe, wanted by caregivers and to feel that caregivers support them in their grieving journey.