HIV and AIDS - Family Counselling

When an individual tests HIV positive, the result affects many more people than just that individual. Family, children and partners will be the providers of physical and emotional care. This can lead to individual stress and tension within the family unit.

Some of the challenges that may arise are:

  • HIV diagnosis may reveal infidelity or sexuality. This can result in feelings of guilt, betrayal, blame and could lead to relationship breakdown.
  • Family may have to face bereavement.
  • Illness within the family unit can cause emotional and financial problems.
  • Stigma and discrimination may lead to the diagnosis being kept a secret, leading to lack of support from extended family or community.
  • Family with an infected child will need to consider when and how to disclose to the child.
  • Religious or cultural beliefs regarding medication may cause conflict
  • Discussing sexual behaviour and risks with young children may be difficult for parents.
  • Infected children reaching adolescence face many problems including adherence and safer sex practice.
  • Stress for families living with HIV may cause problems such as anxiety and depression.

Zoë-Life’s Role

Zoë-Life developed a training course and manual to equip Health Care Workers to incorporate family into the counselling process. The training includes:

  • Counselling multiple family members
  • Family mapping
  • Guilt, blame and shame
  • Couple counselling
  • Discordant results
  • Disclosure
  • Children
  • Play therapy