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The following resources examine caring associated with the needs of people with AIDS/HIV.

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Perceived Caregiver Stress, Coping, and Quality of Life of Older Ugandan Grandparent-Caregivers

With the continued loss of lives due to HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, grandparents bear the stress of caring for children affected by the epidemic, often with very limited resources. Yet, despite the acknowledgement that these older adults serve as the backbone and safety net of the African family in this HIV/AIDS era, very limited research has focused on investigating the specific health outcomes of caregivers in this region and how these changes in health status impact the overall quality of life of caregivers. This study highlights the stress perceived by Ugandan grandparent-caregivers, its impact on their overall quality of life, and the coping strategies they use to manage their stress. Thirty-two grandparent-caregivers (age 50 years and older) were recruited from urban and rural areas in Uganda and individually interviewed in 2016. Using constructivist grounded theory as the qualitative methodology, the narratives generated from the semi-structured, one-on-one interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using both open and axial coding as well as reflexive and analytic memoing. Descriptions of caregiver stress (physical, emotional, financial, and social) were reported. Additionally, study findings uniquely explore the impact of the perceived stress on the grandparents' overall quality of life. Study findings provide a foundation upon which clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers can design and implement effective interventions to improve the health and quality of life of grandparent-caregivers in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Enablers of adherence to clinic appointments for children attending an antiretroviral clinic in Northern Nigeria: Perspectives of caregivers and care providers

Background: Nigeria has the highest burden of paediatric HIV infection, and the success of control efforts in the country is crucial to the global control of the HIV epidemic. However, defaults from schedules of care pose a threat to paediatric HIV control in Nigeria. This study was conducted in a pioneer facility for the implementation of the National HIV Prevention and Treatment Programmes.

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore factors that facilitate adherence to clinic appointments from perspectives of child caregivers and service providers.; Methods: This is a qualitative study using in-depth, face-to-face interviews conducted in 2016. Thirty-five participants were purposely sampled to comprise types of caregivers of HIV-exposed/infected children receiving care and from categories of service providers. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, thematically analysed and presented using a socioecological model.

Results: The themes that emerged from participants' narratives included advanced education, affluence and residing close to the clinic at the intrapersonal level. Stable family dynamics and support, HIV status disclosure and being a biologic parent or grandparent as caregiver emerged at the interpersonal level. At the community level, disclosure and support were identified, while at the health facility level, positive staff attitude, quality of healthcare and peer support group influence were factors identified to facilitate regular clinic attendance.

Conclusion: The factors that enable retention of children in care are multidimensional and intricately connected. Programme improvement initiatives should include regular assessment of clients' perspectives to inform implementation of strategies that could reinforce caregiver confidence in the health system. 

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CHAMP+ Thailand: Pilot Randomized Control Trial of a Family-Based Psychosocial Intervention for Perinatally HIV-Infected Early Adolescents

Within Asia, HIV prevalence is highest in Thailand, including thousands of children and adolescents. Care for children born with HIV [perinatal transmission of HIV (PHIV)] will need to focus on adolescents for the foreseeable future. Thai PHIV adolescents experience significant mental health and psychosocial challenges, including treatment adherence. Yet, few, if any, comprehensive interventions for them exist. CHAMP+, an evidence-based intervention adapted for Thailand, was evaluated with a pilot randomized control trial at four HIV clinics. Eighty-eight dyads of 9- to 14-year-old PHIV young adolescents/caregivers were randomized to CHAMP+ or standard of care (SOC). Eleven cartoon-based sessions were delivered over 6 months. Participants completed baseline, 6-month (postintervention), and 9-month surveys, measuring youth outcomes (e.g., mental health and adherence), contextual factors (e.g., demographics and caregiver factors), and self- and social-regulation factors (e.g., HIV knowledge and youth-caregiver communication). Multi-level modeling to account for clustering within individuals was used to assess longitudinal changes within and between groups. All families randomized to CHAMP+ completed the intervention. Although the study was not statistically powered to detect differences in treatment effects, the CHAMP+ group significantly improved at 6 months in youth mental health and adherence, HIV knowledge, youth-caregiver communication, internalized stigma, and HIV-related social support, with most improvements sustained at 9 months and significantly better improvements than the SOC group on a number of outcomes. High levels of baseline viral suppression highlight the importance of reaching these young PHIV adolescents at a period of lower risk before adherence and other challenges emerge. Designed to be delivered with limited cost/resources, CHAMP+ Thailand holds scale-up potential.

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Discordant retention of HIV-infected mothers and children: Evidence for a family-based approach from Southern Mozambique

It is often assumed that children and their caregivers either stay in care together or discontinue together, but data is lacking on caregiver-child retention concordance. We sought to describe the pattern of care among a cohort of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected children and mothers enrolled in care at the Manhiça District Hospital (MDH).This was a retrospective review of routine HIV clinical data collected under a larger prospective HIV cohort study at MDH. Children enrolling HIV care from January 2013 to November 2016 were identified and matched to their mother's HIV clinical data. Retention in care for mothers and children was assessed at 24 months after the child's enrolment. Multinomial logistic regression was performed to evaluate variables associated with retention discordance.For the 351 mother-child pairs included in the study, only 39% of mothers had concordant care status at baseline (23% already active in care, 16% initiated care concurrently with their children). At 24-months follow up, a total of 108 (31%) mother-child pairs were concordantly retained in care, 88 (26%) pairs were concordantly lost to follow up (LTFU), and 149 (43%) had discordant retention. Pairs with concurrent registration had a higher probability of being concordantly retained in care. Children who presented with advanced clinical or immunological stage had increased probability of being concordantly LTFU.High rates of LTFU as well as high proportions of discordant retention among mother-child pairs were found. Prioritization of a family-based care model that has the potential to improve retention for children and caregivers is recommended.

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The power of siblings and caregivers: under-explored types of social support among children affected by HIV and AIDS

Children affected by HIV and AIDS have significantly higher rates of mental health problems than unaffected children. There is a need for research to examine how social support functions as a source of resiliency for children in high HIV-prevalence settings such as South Africa. The purpose of this research was to explore how family social support relates to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress (PTS). Using the ecological model as a frame, data were drawn from a 2011 cross-sectional study of 1380 children classified as either orphaned by AIDS and/or living with an AIDS sick family member. The children were from high-poverty, high HIV-prevalent rural and urban communities in South Africa. Social support was analyzed in depth by examining the source (e.g. caregiver, sibling) and the type (e.g. emotional, instrumental, quality). These variables were entered into multiple regression analyses to estimate the most parsimonious regression models to show the relationships between social support and depression, anxiety, and PTS symptoms among the children. Siblings emerged as the most consistent source of social support on mental health. Overall caregiver and sibling support explained 13% variance in depression, 12% in anxiety, and 11% in PTS. Emotional support was the most frequent type of social support associated with mental health in all regression models, with higher levels of quality and instrumental support having the strongest relation to positive mental health outcomes. Although instrumental and quality support from siblings were related to positive mental health, unexpectedly, the higher the level of emotional support received from a sibling resulted in the child reporting more symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTS. The opposite was true for emotional support provided via caregivers, higher levels of this support was related to lower levels of all mental health symptoms. Sex was significant in all regressions, indicating the presence of moderation.

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Stigma and discrimination: barriers to the utilisation of a nutritional program in HIV care services in the Tigray region, Ethiopia

Background: In Ethiopia, stigmatising attitudes towards people living with HIV have reduced over time. This is mainly due to improved HIV knowledge and the expansion of access to HIV care and support services. However, HIV stigma and discrimination remain a key challenge and have negative impacts on access to and utilisation of HIV services including nutritional programs in the HIV care setting. A small number of studies have examined the experience of stigma related to nutritional programs, but this is limited. This study explored HIV status disclosure and experience of stigma related to a nutritional program in HIV care settings in Ethiopia and impacts on nutritional program utilisation.

Methods: As part of a larger study, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 adults living with HIV, 15 caregivers of children living with HIV and 13 program staff working in the nutritional program in three hospitals in the Tigray region of Northern Ethiopia. Framework thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data and NVivo 11 was used to analyse the qualitative interview data. This study is presented based on the consolidated criteria for reporting of qualitative research

Results: The study found varying levels of positive HIV status disclosure, depending on who the target of disclosure was. Disclosing to family members was reported to be less problematic by most participants. Despite reported benefits of the nutritional program in terms of improving weight and overall health status, adults and caregivers of children living with HIV revealed experiences of stigma and discrimination that were amplified by enrolment to the nutritional program and concerns about unwanted disclosure of positive HIV status. This was due to: a) transporting, consuming and disposing of the nutritional support (Plumpynut/sup) itself, which is associated with HIV in the broader community; b) required increased frequency of visits to HIV services for those enrolled in the nutritional program and associated greater likelihood of being seen there.

Conclusion: There was evidence of concerns about HIV-related stigma and discrimination among individuals enrolled in this program and their family members, which in turn negatively affected the utilisation of the nutritional program and the HIV service more broadly. Stigma and discrimination are a source of health inequity and undermine access to the nutritional program and other HIV services. Nutritional programs in HIV care should include strategies to take these concerns into account by mainstreaming stigma prevention and mitigation activities. Further research should be done to identify innovative ways of facilitating social inclusion to mitigate stigma and improve utilisation. 

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The Multilevel Relationships of HIV-Related Stigma to Child and Caregiver Mental Health among HIV-Affected Households in South Africa

HIV/AIDS-related (HAR) stigma is still a prevalent problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, and has been found to be related to mental health of HIV-positive individuals. However, no studies in the Sub-Saharan African context have yet examined the relationship between HAR stigma and mental health among HIV-negative, HIV-affected adults and families; nor have any studies in this context yet examined stigma as an ecological construct predicting mental health outcomes through supra-individual (setting level) and individual levels of influence. Multilevel modeling was used to examine multilevel, ecological relationships between HAR stigma and mental health among child and caregiver pairs from a systematic, community-representative sample of 508 HIV-affected households nested within 24 communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Two distinct dimensions of HAR stigma were measured: individual stigmatizing attitudes, and perceptions of community normative stigma. Findings suggest that individual-level HAR stigma significantly predicts individual mental health (depression and anxiety) among HIV-affected adults; and that community-level HAR stigma significantly predicts both individual-level mental health outcomes (anxiety) among HIV-affected adults, and mental health outcomes (PTSD and externalizing behavior scores) among HIV-affected children. Differentiated patterns of relationships were found using the two different stigma measures. These findings of unique relationships identified when utilizing two conceptually distinct stigma measures, at two levels of analysis (individual and community) suggest that HAR stigma in this context should be conceptualized as a multilevel, multidimensional construct. These findings have important implications both for mental health interventions and for interventions to reduce HAR stigma in this context. (© 2018 Society for Community Research and Action.)

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Exploring the experiences of family caregivers with people with drug-resistant tuberculosis

Background: The South African health system faces major challenges: crumbling infrastructure, shortage of beds and health professionals, and a high burden of diseases such as Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. The emergence of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis has made matters worse, as some of the burden of care for patients was transferred from nurses at hospitals to families in communities after patient discharge. Objective: This study explores and describes experiences of family caregivers caring for family members with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis living at home. Methods: The data from purposively selected family caregivers, caring for family members living with Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, were collected through in-depth interviews using a pretested interview guide. Saturation was reached at the 11th interview. All interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, analysed using Tech’s Eight Steps for Data Analysis, and emerging themes reported. Findings: Three themes that emerged were: issues in relation to provision of care, caregiver’s attitudes towards caregiving, and community attitudes and practices towards family caregivers. The study showed that respondents experienced challenges such as buying and preparing of nutritious food, attending to hygiene needs and management of treatment of side effects. Poverty, finance and time were barriers to caregiving roles. Participants experienced physical and psychological exhaustion, social exclusion, and stigmatisation. Conclusions: There is a need to increase coverage of the Ward-Based Outreach Teams and Community Healthcare Workers, and intensification of TB and HIV/AIDS health education in communities. Training and education on infection control, palliative treatment, and home-based medical care should be provided to families before a patient is discharged. Stakeholder relations need to be improved and collaboration fostered. 

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Care Burden and Coping Strategies among Caregivers of Paediatric HIV/AIDS in Northern Uganda: A Cross-Sectional Mixed-Method Study

Background: Family caregivers provide the bulk of care to children living with HIV. This places an enormous demand and care burden on the caregivers who often struggle to cope in various ways, some of which may be maladaptive. This may adversely affect their quality of care. Very little literature exists in resource-limited contexts on the burden of care experienced by caregivers on whom children living with HIV/AIDS depend for their long-term care. We assessed care burden and coping strategies among the caregivers of paediatric HIV/AIDS patients in Lira district, northern Uganda. Methods: A mixed-method cross-sectional study was conducted among 113 caregivers of paediatric HIV patients attending the ART clinic at a tertiary healthcare facility in Lira district, northern Uganda. A consecutive sampling method was used to select participants for the quantitative study, while 15 respondents were purposively sampled for the qualitative data. Quantitative data were collected using standard interviewer-administered questionnaires, while in-depth interview guides were used to collect qualitative data. Data were entered, cleaned, and analysed using SPSS version 23. Qualitative data were analysed thematically. Results: The majority of the caregivers, 65.5% (74), experienced mild-to-moderate burden. The mean burden scores significantly differed by caregivers’ age (P=0.017), marital status (P=0.017), average monthly income (P=0.035), and child’s school attendance (P=0.039). Accepting social support, seeking spiritual support, and reframing were the three most commonly used strategies for coping. Marital status and occupation were, respectively, positively and negatively correlated with information-seeking as a coping strategy, while monthly income was positively correlated with psychosocial support as a strategy. Seeking community support was negatively correlated with the duration of the child’s care. Conclusions: Our findings show that care burden is a common problem among the caregivers of children living with HIV in the study context.

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Lived experiences of palliative care among people living with HIV/AIDS: a qualitative study from Bihar, India

Objectives This study aimed to assess the lived experiences of palliative care among critically unwell people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA), caregivers and relatives of deceased patients. It also aimed to understand the broader palliative care context in Bihar. Design This was an exploratory, qualitative study which used thematic analysis of semistructured, in-depth interviews as well as a focus group discussion. Setting All interviews took place in a secondary care hospital in Patna, Bihar which provides holistic care to critically unwell PLHA. Participants We purposively selected 29 participants: 10 critically unwell PLHA, 5 caregivers of hospitalised patients, 7 relatives of deceased patients who were treated in the secondary care hospital and 7 key informants from community-based organisations. Results Critically ill PLHA emphasised the need for psychosocial counselling and opportunities for social interaction in the ward, as well as a preference for components of home-based palliative care, even though they were unfamiliar with actual terms such as 'palliative care' and 'end-of-life care'. Critically unwell PLHA generally expressed preference for separate, private inpatient areas for end-of-life care. Relatives of deceased patients stated that witnessing patients' deaths caused trauma for other PLHA. Caregivers and relatives of deceased patients felt there was inadequate time and space for grieving in the hospital. While both critically ill PLHA and relatives wished that poor prognosis be transparently disclosed to family members, many felt it should not be disclosed to the dying patients themselves. Conclusions Despite expected high inpatient fatality rates, PLHA in Bihar lack access to palliative care services. PLHA receiving end-of-life care in hospitals should have a separate dedicated area, with adequate psychosocial counselling and activities to prevent social isolation. Healthcare providers should make concerted efforts to inquire, understand and adapt their messaging on prognosis and end-of-life care based on patients' preferences.

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Impact of HIV and AIDS on rural elderly caregivers in Chiang Mai Province, Thailand

The UN General Special Assembly on HIV/AIDS reported that Thailand's elderly are living on the edge of poverty. Those who become caregivers for the children who have been orphaned by AIDS incur even greater challenges. The 2007 Survey of Older Persons of Thailand (SOPT) concluded that there is a range of financial and social safety nets provided by the government, nongovernmental (NGO), and faith-based organizations (FBOs) to help the elderly caregivers and their families. The research offered limited studies on Thailand's elderly caring for these children. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the social, religious and familial experiences of this population. In-depth interviews were conducted with 14 elderly caregivers participating in the Grandma Cares Program (GCP) located in the province of Chiang Mai. They were asked about their caregiving experiences, cultural and Buddhist beliefs, and programs that help them. Data were verified through member checking with a translator. The details of the caregivers' experiences and environments were transcribed and analyzed with Creswell's 6-step process to identify textural and structural themes and patterns. Results of this study indicated that caregivers gained comfort and strength from Buddha's teachings and cultural beliefs, but they would like more support. 

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Communal responsibility: a history of health collectives in Australia

Healthcare encompasses multiple discourses to which health professionals, researchers, patients, carers and lay individuals contribute. Networks of patients and non-professionals often act collectively to build capacity, enhance access to resources, develop understanding and improve provision of care. This article explores the concept of health collectives and three notable examples that have had an enduring and profound impact in the Australian context. 

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"He was no longer listening to me": A qualitative study in six Sub-Saharan African countries exploring next-of-kin perspectives on caring following the death of a relative from AIDS

In the era of widespread antiretroviral therapy, few studies have explored the perspectives of the relatives involved in caring for people living with HIV (PLHIV) during periods of ill-health leading up to their demise. In this analysis, we explore the process of care for PLHIV as their death approached, from their relatives' perspective. We apply Tronto's care ethics framework that distinguishes between care-receiving among PLHIV on the one hand, and caring about, caring for and care-giving by their relatives on the other. We draw on 44 in-depth interviews conducted with caregivers following the death of their relatives, in seven rural settings in Eastern and Southern Africa. Relatives suggested that prior to the onset of poor health, few of the deceased had disclosed their HIV status and fewer still were relying on anyone for help. This lack of disclosure meant that some caregivers spoke of enduring a long period of worry, and feelings of helplessness as they were unable to translate their concern and "caring about" into "caring for". This transition often occurred when the deceased became in need of physical, emotional or financial care. The responsibility was often culturally prescribed, rarely questioned and usually fell to women. The move to "care-giving" was characterised by physical acts of providing care for their relative, which lasted until death. Tronto's conceptualisation of caring relationships highlights how the burden of caring often intensifies as family members' caring evolves from "caring about", to "caring for", and eventually to "giving care" to their relatives. This progression can lead to caregivers experiencing frustration, provoking tensions with their relatives and highlighting the need for interventions to support family members caring for PLHIV. Interventions should also encourage PLHIV to disclose their HIV status and seek early access to HIV care and treatment services. 

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Family Caregivers, AIDS Narratives, and the Semiotics of the Bedside in Colm Tóibín's The Blackwater Lightship

This article examines the ways in which Colm Tóibín's The Blackwater Lightship carefully negotiates media discourses on HIV/AIDS and the genre of the AIDS narrative in order to shed new light on the physical and emotional experience of being a family caregiver. The novel elevates the otherwise mundane bed to the status of a symbol that reflects a myriad of unspoken social relations and shows how the daily life of the caregiver challenges their ideals, stretches emotional limits, and heightens interdependency. In reading the complex semiotics of the bedside in the novel, this article reveals the emotional costs of illness. In place of the biomedical focus on cellular decay and tissue damage, interactions at the bedside foreground the social realm of plans abandoned and abilities impaired. As The Blackwater Lightship reveals, bedsides are both real and imagined places of intimacy, care, and connection that are nevertheless fraught and weighted with meaning; they are the site of the complex emotional commitments that bind caregivers and patients together and provide spaces for intimacy, vulnerability, and reflection.

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Quality of life in HIV-infected Chinese women and their family caregivers: an intervention study

China is experiencing a rapid increase in the number of HIV-infected women. In this study, we describe the development and preliminary evaluation of an intervention tailored for Chinese HIV-infected women and caregivers to improve their self- and family management, with goals of enhancing their physical quality of life (QOL) and decreasing their depressive symptomatology. Forty-one HIV-infected women and their caregivers were recruited from two premier Chinese hospitals from July 2014 through March 2016. Participants were randomized to either the control or intervention arm for the Self- and Family Management Intervention (SAFMI). Each study dyad in the intervention arm received three counseling sessions with a nurse interventionist. At baseline, immediate post-intervention (month 1) and follow-up (month 3), the participants were assessed by a self-reported survey. Generalized Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention. Chinese HIV-infected women in the intervention arm had significantly higher probability of higher physical QOL at month 1 and lower probability of clinically meaningful depressive symptomatology at month 3 compared with women in the control arm. In contrast, the effects of the intervention were less salient for caregivers. This study represents one of the first in China to include family caregivers in HIV management. Feasibility and acceptability were high, in that family members were willing to join the study, learn about HIV, and practice new skills to support the HIV-infected women in their lives. A larger trial is needed to fully evaluate this intervention which shows promising preliminary effects in promoting physical QOL and decreasing depressive symptomatology among Chinese HIV-infected women.

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Hidden carers? a scoping review of the needs of carers of people with HIV in the contemporary treatment era

The role of carers in supporting people with HIV is largely hidden in Western countries in the contemporary era of antiretroviral treatments. Little is known about their needs. A scoping review was undertaken to describe the research available on the needs of this group and identify gaps in existing knowledge. Findings reveal that carers of people with HIV have similar needs to other carers but are currently mostly invisible to support services. The article suggests that the discourse of independence underpinning the new HIV treatment era may be difficult for carers to 'disrupt' by naming what they do as 'care'.

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An intersectional analysis of male caregiving in South African palliative care

Care work is often feminised and invisible. Intangible components of care, such as emotional labour, are rarely recognised as economically valuable. Men engaging in care work can be stigmatised or simply made invisible for non-conformance to gender norms (Dworzanowski-Venter, 2008). Mburu et al (2014) and Chikovore et al (2016) have studied masculinity from an intersectional perspective, but male caregiving has not enjoyed sufficient intersectional focus. Intersectional analysis of male caregiving has the twin benefits of making 'women's work' visible and finding ways to keep men involved in caring occupations. I foreground the class-gender intersection in this study of black male caregivers as emotional labourers involved in palliative care work in Gauteng (2005-2013). Informal AIDS care and specialist oncology nursing are contrasting cases of male care work presented in this article. Findings suggest that caregiving men interviewed for this study act in gender-disruptive ways and face a stigmatising social backlash in post-colonial South Africa. Oncology nursing has a professional cachet denied to informal sector caregivers. This professional status acts as a class-based insulator against oppressive gender-based stigma, for oncology nursing more closely aligns to an idealised masculinity. The closer to a 'respectable' middle-class identity, or bourgeois civility, the better for these men, who idealise traditionally white male formal sector occupations. However, this insulating effect relies on a denial of emotional aspects of care by male cancer nurses and a lack of activism around breaking down gendered notions of care work. Forming a guild of informal sector AIDs caregivers could add much-needed professional recognition and provide an organisational base for gender norm disruption through activism. This may help to retain more men in informal sector caregiving roles and challenge the norms that are used to stigmatise male caregiving work in general.

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Caregivers' Support Network Characteristics Associated with Viral Suppression among HIV Care Recipients

Informal care receipt is associated with health outcomes among people living with HIV. Less is known about how caregivers' own social support may affect their care recipient's health. We examined associations between network characteristics of informal caregivers and HIV viral suppression among former or current drug using care recipients. We analyzed data from 258 caregiver-recipient dyads from the Beacon study, of whom 89% of caregivers were African American and 59% were female. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, care recipients had lower odds of being virally suppressed if their caregiver was female, was caring for youth involved in the criminal justice system, and had network members who used illicit drugs. Caregivers' greater numbers of non-kin in their support network was positively associated with viral suppression among care recipients. The findings reveal contextual factors affecting ART outcomes and the need for interventions to support caregivers, especially HIV caregiving women with high-risk youth.;

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Global Perspective on Children's Unpaid Caregiving in the Family

This article provides the first cross-national review and synthesis of available statistical and research evidence from three developed countries, the UK, Australia and the USA, and from sub-Saharan Africa, on children who provide substantial, regular or significant unpaid care to other family members (‘young carers/caregivers’). It uses the issue of young carers as a window on the formulation and delivery of social policy in a global context. The article examines the extent of children’s informal caregiving in each country; how young carers differ from other children; and how children’s caring has been explained in research from both developed and developing countries. The article includes a review of the research, social policy and service developments for young carers in each country. National levels of awareness and policy response are characterized as ‘advanced’, ‘intermediate’, ‘preliminary’ or ‘emerging’. Explanations are provided for variations in national policy and practice drawing on themes from the globalization literature. Global opportunities and constraints to progress, particularly in Africa, are identified. The article suggests that children’s informal caring roles in both developed and developing nations can be located along a ‘caregiving continuum’ and that young carers, globally, have much in common irrespective of where they live or how developed are their national welfare systems. There is a need in all countries for young carers to be recognized, identified, analysed and supported as a distinct group of ‘vulnerable children’.

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Coping strategies of families in HIV/AIDS care: some exploratory data from two developmental contexts

Caring for a family member with HIV/AIDS presents multiple challenges that strain a family's physical, economic and emotional resources. Family carers provide physical care and financial support and deal with changes in family relationships and roles, often with little support from outside of the family. Carers in developing countries face even greater challenges, due to lack of medical and support services, poverty and widespread discrimination against those with HIV/AIDS. Little is known about how family carers cope with these challenges or about the ways that development impacts on the process of coping. The current study explored coping strategies used by family carers in two contexts, Kerala, India and Scotland, UK. As part of a larger study, 28 family carers of persons living with HIV/AIDS were interviewed −23 in Kerala and 5 in Scotland. A modified version of the Ways of Coping scale was used to assess coping strategies. Responses were compared on the total number of coping responses used as well as on selected subscales of the WOC. Differences were assessed using the Mann-Whitney U-test. The two cohorts differed significantly in terms of the coping strategies used. The carers from Scotland used a larger number of different coping strategies and scored higher on measures of problem focused coping, positive reappraisal, seeking social support, self-controlling and distancing/detachment. Respondents from Kerala scored higher on a measure of self-blame. Results are discussed in terms of the impact of community resources on coping strategies.

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Gender differentials on the health consequences of care-giving to people with AIDS-related illness among older informal carers in two slums in Nairobi, Kenya

Informal caregivers, most often older people, provide valuable care and support for people ill due to AIDS, especially in poor-resource settings with inadequate health care systems and limited access to antiretroviral therapy. The negative health consequences associated with care-giving may vary depending on various factors that act to mediate the extent of the effects on the caregiver. This paper investigates the association between care-giving and poor health among older carers to people living with AIDS, and examines potential within-gender differences in reporting poor health. Data from 1429 men and women aged 50 years or older living in two slum areas of Nairobi are used to compare AIDS-caregivers with other caregivers and non-caregivers based on self-reported health using the World Health Organization disability assessment (WHODAS) score and the presence of a severe health problem. Women AIDS-caregivers reported higher disability scores for mobility and the lowest scores in self-care and life activities domains while men AIDS-caregivers reported higher scores in all domains (except interpersonal interaction) compared with other caregivers and non-caregivers. Multiple regression analysis is used to examine the association of providing care with health outcomes while controlling for other confounders. Consistently across all the health measures, no significant differences were observed between female AIDS-caregivers and female non-caregivers. Male AIDS-caregivers were however significantly more likely to report disability and having a severe health problem compared with male non-caregivers. This finding highlights a gendered variation in outcome and is possibly an indication of the differences in care-giving gender-role expectations and coping strategies. This study highlights the relatively neglected role of older men as caregivers and recommends comprehensive interventions to mitigate the impact of HIV and AIDS on caregivers that embrace men as well as women.

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Extended safety and support systems for people with dementia living at home

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to highlight the complexity surrounding the implementation of advanced electronic tracking, communication and emergency response technologies, namely, an extended safety and support (ESS) system for people with dementia (pwd) living at home. Results are presented from a Swedish demonstration study (2011-2012) conducted in 24 municipalities.

Design/methodology/approach – It is a descriptive intervention study with a pre-post test design. Questionnaires were administered to pwd, carers and professionals at the outset and eight months later. ESS logging data were analyzed.

Findings – ESS usage rates varied widely. A total of 650 alerts were triggered, mainly when the pwd was outdoors. Activities were reduced amongst pwd, most likely due to a progression of their disease. Carers noted that pwd were more independent than previously on those occasions when they engaged in outdoor activities. Staff considered that nearly half of pwd could remain living at home due to the ESS, compared with a third amongst carers. In total, 50 per cent of carers felt it was justified to equip their relative with an ESS without their explicit consent, compared to one in eight staff.

Research limitations/implications – A limitation is the amount of missing data and high drop- out rates. Researchers should recruit pwd earlier in their illness trajectory. A mixed-methods approach to data collection is advisable.

Practical implications – Carers played a crucial role in the adoption of ESS. Staff training/supervision about assistive devices and services is recommended.

Social implications – Overall, use of ESS for pwd living at home was not an ethical problem.

Originality/value – The study included key stakeholder groups and a detailed ethical analysis was conducted.

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Presents a list of medicine and health research sources selected by the editorial board for the October 2004 to April 2005 issue of the magazine "Research Matters." "A Better Life: Private Sheltered Housing and Independent Living for Older People"; "New Lifestyles in Old Age: Health, Identity and Well-Being in Berryhill Retirement Village"; "Young Carers in the UK: The 2004 Report"; The Commercial Exploitation of Children and Young People: An Overview of Key Literature and Data; "Images of Abuse: A Review of the Evidence in Child Pornography."

Community-based organizations for vulnerable children in South Africa: Reach, psychosocial correlates, and potential mechanisms

Community-based organizations (CBOs) have the potential to provide high quality services for orphaned and vulnerable children in resource-limited settings. However, evidence is lacking as to whether CBOs are reaching those who are most vulnerable, whether attending these organizations is associated with greater psychosocial wellbeing, and how they might work. This study addressed these three questions using cross-sectional data from 1848 South African children aged 9–13. Data were obtained from the Young Carers and Child Community Care studies, which both investigated child wellbeing in South Africa using standardized self-report measures. Children from the Child Community Care study were all CBO attenders, whereas children from Young Carers were not receiving any CBO services, thereby serving as a comparison group. Multivariable regression analyses were used to test whether children attending CBOs were more deprived on socio-demographic variables (e.g., housing), and whether CBO attendance was in turn associated with better psychosocial outcomes (e.g., child depression). Mediation analysis was conducted to test whether more positive home environments mediated the association between CBO attendance and significantly higher psychological wellbeing. Overall, children attending CBOs did show greater vulnerability on most socio-demographic variables. For example, compared to children not attending any CBO, CBO-attending children tended to live in more crowded households (OR 1.22) and have been exposed to more community violence (OR 2.06). Despite their heightened vulnerability, however, children attending CBOs tended to perform better on psychosocial measures: for instance, showing fewer depressive symptoms (B = − 0.33) and lower odds of experiencing physical (OR 0.07) or emotional abuse (OR 0.22). Indirect effects of CBO attendance on significantly better child psychological wellbeing (lower depressive symptoms) was observed via lower rates of child abuse (B = − 0.07) and domestic conflict/violence (B = − 0.03) and higher rates of parental praise (B = − 0.03). Null associations were observed between CBO attendance and severe psychopathology (e.g., suicidality). These cross-sectional results provide promising evidence regarding the potential success of CBO reach and impact but also highlight areas for improvement.

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The reluctant carer

Reflections by an HIV clinical nurse specialist on family members who perform the role of informal carers only reluctantly. A case study of an elderly HIV-positive patient who refuses to adhere to treatment or advice, looked after by his elderly sister, is used to illustrate the problems involved. [(BNI unique abstract)] 

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Sexual Health

Discusses whether national context has influence on the experience and use of highly active anti-retroviral therapy for people living with HIV/AIDS. Information on a research of the International Collaboration on HIV Optimism on the comparison of gay men in terms of their levels of optimism about the effects of highly active anti-retroviral therapy; Statements used in the questionnaires to capture the degree of susceptibility and severity of HIV perceived in the context of treatments; Optimism scores of the population studied; Discussion on the role of informal carers in AIDS social care.

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Meaning from methods: re-presenting narratives of an HIV-affected caregiver

This article outlines the methodological process followed in examining a portion of an interview in which an older woman tells of two incidents where she felt effects of associative HIV-related stigma. Through the process of applying different techniques of narrative analysis, the author learned research methods and deepened interpretations of the text. Data management techniques both reflect assumptions and augment understanding. In narrative analysis, the structural whole can best be understood by first examining the architectural detail. This report demonstrates how meaning can emerge from method, theory from transcription, and richness from rigor. It also argues for the utility of narrative analysis to social work research, teaching, and practice.

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Giving care to people with symptoms of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa

In rural sub-Saharan Africa, most care for patients with AIDS is provided at home by relatives. Caring for those with AIDS is assumed to be a substantial burden, but little is known from the perspectives of those who provide the care. In this paper we use interviews with caregivers, supplemented with survey data from a larger study in rural Malawi, to investigate this issue. We focus on the caregivers’ diagnoses of the illness of their patients, the type and duration of the care they provided, the support they received from relatives and other members of the community, and the extent to which caregiving was experienced as an emotional, physical, and financial burden. Although none of the caregivers knew of a formal diagnosis and few explicitly named their relative's disease as AIDS, most appeared to suspect it. They described the illness using the typical symptoms of AIDS as they are locally understood and sometimes related the illness to their patient's sexual history. The care, typically given by close female relatives of the patient, was limited to the care that would be given to anyone who was seriously ill. What was striking, however, was the compassion of the caregivers and the attempts they made to provide the best care possible in their circumstances. For most caregivers, kin and members of the community provided social, moral, and physical support, as well as modest financial assistance. Caregiving was physically and emotionally demanding and confined the caregivers to their home, but most caregivers did not consider caregiving a problem primarily because the patients were close relatives. The financial impact of caregiving was typically modest because the caregivers had very little income and few possessions to sell.

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Hidden Child Workers: Young Carers in Zimbabwe

Drawing on an interview-based case study of young people caring for dependent adult members of their households in Harare, this paper connects the experiences of young carers in Zimbabwe to global forces—namely the HIV/AIDS pandemic and economic liberalisation. It is argued, firstly, that care-giving by young people is a largely hidden and unappreciated aspect of national economies which is growing as an outcome of conservative macroeconomic policies and the HIV/AIDS explosion. Secondly, that young people have a right to recognition of their work as work. Thirdly, while acknowledging that conceptualising childhood is problematic, there needs to be less emphasis on northern myths of childhood as a time of play and innocence and more attention on defending children's rights to work as well as to be supported in their work under appropriate circumstances. The articulation between global processes and the localised experiences of individual children as providers of care within the home contributes to efforts to re-introduce social reproduction as an important (but often missing) aspect of debates around globalisation. In addition, this article adds to the growing literature on the geographies of childhood while tackling the imbalance within that literature, whereby working young people and those of the global South are relatively neglected. Suggestions are offered in the conclusions for policy recommendations to recognise and support young carers in Africa, while calling for further research.

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Trauma and growth in Canadian carers

The phenomenon of post-traumatic growth has been explored within the context of HIV disease in only a limited fashion. One hundred and seventy-six bereaved HIV/AIDS carers located all over Canada responded to a questionnaire about their experiences; 51.7% of these individuals were male, 46% were female and 2.3% were transgender. The range of deaths experienced was from 0 to 110. Forty-four per cent of the carers were themselves HIV-positive. Of all the HIV carers in this study, 86.4% of them exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite this, 81.8% had scores high enough to be indicative of post-traumatic growth. This study provides a portrait of bereaved HIV carers in Canada and both the positive and negative realities associated with that situation.

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Caregivers' and non-caregivers' knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS and attitude towards HIV/AIDS and orphans in Nigeria

Nigeria has an estimated 930 000 AIDS orphans, which has a marked impact on family and community. This study was performed to characterise caregivers’ knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS and their attitude towards HIV/AIDS, orphans in general and AIDS orphans in particular. Caregivers and non-caregivers aged 25–70 years in Nigeria were interviewed from January and March 2003, and logistic regression analysis was used to determine associations between caregivers’ knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, orphans and AIDS orphans, and demographic characteristics and background status regarding HIV/AIDS and orphans. A total of 824 interviewees participated in the survey (82.4% response rate), of whom 290 (35.2%) were current caregivers of orphans. The mean number of orphans per current caregiver was 1.8 (standard deviation 1.4). Factors related to higher knowledge level regarding HIV/AIDS were female gender [odds ratio (OR) = 3.49; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.33, 5.22] and belief that AIDS is a common disease (OR = 3.39; 95% CI: 2.19, 5.26). Factors associated with positive attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, orphans in general and AIDS orphans in particular were age 35–44 years (OR = 1.73; 95% CI: 1.11, 2.69), Koranic schooling (OR = 8.69; 95% CI: 2.42, 31.19), polygamy (OR = 1.76; 95% CI: 1.17, 2.62), belief that there are increasing numbers of orphans in the community (OR = 2.59; 95% CI: 1.32, 5.08) and having relatives or friends with HIV/AIDS (OR = 2.88; 95% CI: 1.61, 1.58). There was a slight correlation (r = 0.17, P < 0.001) between caregivers’ knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS and positive attitudes towards HIV/AIDS, orphans and AIDS orphans. Demographic characteristics and personal experience should be taken into consideration to improve attitudes and behaviour related to HIV/AIDS and caring for orphans and AIDS orphans.

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Telecare in practice: a telecare initiative focusing on carers of older people based on ACTION

There is a continual need to support and assist carers who play a central role in providing informal care for a relative. This approach to care provision must have a strong foundation based on liaison between the family carers, professional carers and the older or disabled person who is the focus of care. Services that enable effective communication using videoconferencing, interactive communication, tailored Web based programs and other specific resources configured for the needs of the individual can help carers carry out their role effectively. The initiative described in this paper uses a combination of telematic focused interventions to meet the needs of carers and provides an in-depth overview of the ACTION telecare project.

The ACTION (Assisting Carers using Telematic Interventions to meet Older persons’ Needs) project was set up and funded because of the need to develop supportive methods for carers and older people. The initiative was designed to improve autonomy and maintain independence and quality of life for people in their own homes and therefore reduce the need for institutional care. This has an economic as well as a social dimension. The project has demonstrated that with the involvement of users at all levels it can fulfil this need. The role of the ACTION project was to develop a cost-effective telecare system for the provision of education, information and support and has been demonstrated with successful results.

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‘I felt I have grown up as an adult’: caregiving experience of children affected by HIV/AIDS in China

Background  The growing global epidemic of HIV/AIDS has a significant impact on the lives of both people living with HIV/AIDS and their family members including children. Children of parents with HIV/AIDS may experience an increased responsibility of caregiving in family. However, limited data are available regarding the caregiving experience and its impact on psychosocial well-being among these children. This study was designed to address these issues by using qualitative data collected from children affected by HIV/AIDS in China.

Methods  The qualitative data were collected in 2006 in rural central China, where many residents were infected with HIV/AIDS through unhygienic blood collection procedures. In-depth individual interviews were conducted by trained interviewers with 47 children between 8 and 17 years of age who had lost one or both parents to AIDS.

Results  Findings of this study suggest that many children affected by AIDS had experienced increased responsibilities in housework and caregiving for family members. Such caregiving included caring for self and younger siblings, caring for parents with illness and caring for elderly grandparents. Positive impacts from children's participation in family caregiving included personal growth and emotional maturity. Negative consequences included physical fatigue, psychological fear and anxiety and suboptimal schooling (dropping out from school, repeated absence from school and unable to concentrate in class).

Conclusion  While the increased caregiving responsibilities among children reflected some cultural beliefs and had some positive effect on personal growth, the caregiving experience generally negatively effected the children's physical and mental health and schooling. The findings in the current study suggest that community-based caregiving support is necessary in areas with high prevalence of HIV and limited resources, especially for the families lacking adult caregivers. In addition, social and psychological support should be made available for children participating in family caregiving.

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The relative importance of factors affecting the choice of bathing devices

There is only a small evidence base to draw upon when choosing assistive devices. Evaluations such as those funded by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency,* Department of Health, United Kingdom, generate data from which evidence-based guidelines can be compiled, but it is often difficult to determine the relative importance of the various factors involved.

To explore the relative importance of the factors related to the choice of bathing devices, the Delphi technique was employed. Thirty respondents were recruited following a formal evaluation of bath cushions and agreed to participate in the study (5 users, 10 informal carers and 15 professional care assistants), with 14 completing the process.

Three rounds were conducted, in which the respondents were asked to review a list of factors to consider when choosing bathing devices, to indicate the most important, to rank them and to comment on the results.

The safety of the user was reported to be the primary concern. The factors that eased the care assistant's task were regarded as less important, but several respondents remarked on the interrelationships between the factors. The ranking of the factors may jeopardise a comprehensive consideration of all the needs assessed, especially with people who have complex requirements. The limitations of the Delphi technique in such situations are discussed.

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Multidisciplinary approaches to moving and handling for formal and informal carers in community palliative care

Health professionals such as nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists provide a wealth of support in the community to patients and their carers receiving palliative care. Moving and handling is one such support that needs careful consideration and assessment including risk, by appropriately qualified professionals. A combination of skills are required as well as knowledge of up to date equipment to assist the health professional in deciding how to formulate safe moving and handling interventions in a timely way. Patients with palliative care needs and their carers should be given the appropriate care and support necessary using a holistic, flexible and patient-centred approach to service delivery.

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Initial steps to developing the World Health Organization's Quality of Life Instrument (WHOQOL) module for international assessment in HIV/AIDS

This paper reports on the three initial steps taken to develop the World Health Organization's Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL) module for assessment of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). First, a consultation of international experts was convened to review the suitability of the generic WHOQOL-100 for assessment of PLWHA. The experts proposed additional facets that are specific to the lives of PLWHA. Second, 42 focus groups (N=235) were conducted by six culturally diverse centres--comprising of PLWHA, informal carers and health professionals--to (1) review the adequacy of the WHOQOL for PLWHA, (2) review the additional facets proposed by the experts, and (3) write additional facets and items for a pilot instrument. Third, results of steps 1 and 2 were consolidated, and a total of 115 items, covering 25 new facets and sub-facets for assessment of QoL specific to PLWHA, were prepared for pilot testing. The new facets included symptoms of HIV, body image, sexual activities, work, social inclusion, disclosure, death and dying, and forgiveness. The implications of cross-cultural QoL assessment for PLWHA are discussed.

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The search for meaning in HIV and AIDS: the carers' experience

This article explores informal carers' experiences in caregiving for people living with HIV and AIDS. The search for meaning encompasses the ways in which carers find meaning in caregiving. A grounded theory approach was taken. Data were collected by means of 43 in-depth interviews and participant observation. Caregivers felt that it was important to have control over the emphasis that HIV had within their lives and developed an attitude that put the virus in perspective. Getting involved in HIV and AIDS work outside of the immediate caregiving relationship was evident. The motivation for this was in part a reaction to prevailing societal views on HIV and in part altruistic in that it provided further meaning for the caregiving experience. This study suggests that finding meaning in caregiving is a powerful way to achieve a balance between the costs of caregiving and personal reward.

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The daily grind of the forgotten heroines: experiences of HIV/AIDS informal caregivers in Botswana

With the increasing number of people living with HIV/AIDS and the escalating costs of health care, there is an increasing demand for informal caregiving in the community. Currently, much emphasis is placed on individuals who are living with HIV/AIDS (in terms of the provision of social, psychological and economic support), but very little attention has been paid to the well-being and quality of life of informal caregivers. Lack of support and care for caregivers may have a negative impact on the quality of care and effective services for individuals living with HIV/AIDS. This paper is based on findings from a qualitative study that explored major sources of stress associated with caregiving among informal caregivers in a village in the southern part of Botswana. The paper suggests that informal caregivers are an integral part of the continuum of care. As a result, they need to be nurtured and supported for the betterment of those both infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The paper concludes by discussing the implications for further research, policy and programme development.

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Posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, executive functioning, and autobiographical remembering in individuals with HIV and in carers of those with HIV in Iran

Two studies examined autobiographical remembering in those with HIV (Study 1) and in carers of those with HIV (Study 2) in Iran. Study 1 investigated posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptoms, executive control, and autobiographical remembering in those with HIV. Individuals with HIV (n = 34) and healthy controls (n = 34) completed the Impact of Event Scale-Revised, Beck's Depression Inventory-II, Beck's Anxiety Inventory, Autobiographical Memory Interview, Autobiographical Memory Test, Wisconsin Card Sorting Test, and Tower of London. The results indicated higher PTSD and depression symptoms among the HIV group. The findings also showed that those with HIV had lower levels of executive functioning, deficits in autobiographical remembering (semantic and episodic) and retrieved less specific autobiographical memories than the control group. Study 2 examined depression, executive functioning, and autobiographical memory performance among carers of those with HIV (n = 26) and healthy controls (n = 26). The same measures were completed as in Study 1. The results indicated higher depression among the carers group but the groups did not differ in terms of executive functioning or semantic recollection. The carers had lower episodic recall scores and less specific memories than the control group. The findings are discussed in terms of the processes involved in nonspecific retrieval of autobiographical material in relation to HIV.

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Experiences of older informal caregivers to people with HIV/Aids in Lome, Togo

This study examines the experiences of 50 older caregivers to people living with HIV/ AIDS in Lomé, Togo. The authors used a mixed qualitative-quantitative design to identify several challenges faced by the elderly caregivers. They were ill prepared for the caregiving demands and overburdened by enormous financial needs of people with HIV/AIDS, having been unexpectedly thrust into the role. They felt frustration, despair, and isolation because HIV/AIDS has changed the family structures and social expectations. Also, most of them reported how caring for someone with HIV/ AIDS had depleted their resources. Although they did not complain about caring for a person with HIV/AIDS, almost all wished for an institutional solution to relieve them of the burden of providing care. To alleviate the struggles of older caregivers to people with HIV/AIDS policymakers and HIV/AIDS programs need to incorporate caregivers into their policies and services.

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“I Can’t Go to School and Leave Her in So Much Pain”: Educational Shortfalls Among Adolescent ‘Young Carers’ in the South African AIDS Epidemic

“I go to the hospital with my mother when she is sick. I can’t go to school and leave her in so much pain. I won’t concentrate.” Millions of adolescents live with AIDS-affected parents or primary caregivers. Little is known about educational impacts of living in an AIDS-affected home, or of acting as a “young carer” in the context of AIDS. This study combined qualitative and quantitative methods to determine educational impacts of household AIDS-sickness and other-sickness. Six hundred and fifty-nine adolescents (aged 10-20) were interviewed in high-poverty areas of urban and rural South Africa. Qualitative findings identified three major themes of missing school, being hungry at school, and concentration problems due to worry about the sick person. In quantitative analyses, living in an AIDS-affected home predicted all these three outcomes (p < .001) compared to homes affected by other sickness and to healthy homes, and independent of sociodemographic cofactors. This study demonstrates that familial AIDS-sickness is associated with negative educational impacts for adolescents. It is important that policies are developed to support young people in these circumstances to continue with their education.

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Examining the trajectories of children providing care for adults in rural Kenya: Implications for service delivery

Research on caregiving children tends to be limited to children's caregiving experiences of parents with a specific disease or disability. This has led to a common perception that children's caregiving is a single, uniform and often long-term experience. Whilst this is most certainly the case for many children in economically more advanced countries, this may not hold true in rural Africa, where poverty and AIDS can have significant knock-on effects on entire families and communities. This paper seeks to develop a more complex understanding of children's caring experiences by asking children whom they have cared for over time and explore the different pathways that lead to their caregiving at different stages of their lives. The study reports on qualitative data collected from 48 caregiving children and 10 adults in the Bondo district of western Kenya in 2007. A multi-method approach was adapted, with historical profiles, Photovoice and draw-and-write essays complementing 34 individual interviews and 2 group discussions. A thematic network analysis revealed that children's caregiving was not confined to a single experience. Children were observed to provide care for a number of different family and community members for varying periods of time and intensities. Although their living arrangements and life circumstances often gave them little choice but to care, a social recognition of children's capacity to provide care for fragile adults, helped the children construct an identity, which both children and adults drew on to rationalise children's continued and multiple caring experiences. The study concludes that agencies and community members looking to support caregiving children need to consider their care trajectories — including whom they care for as well as the order, intensity, location and duration of their past and likely future caring responsibilities.

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Entry and re‐entry into informal care‐giving over a 3‐year prospective study among older people in Nairobi slums, Kenya

This paper analyses data from a 3-year prospective study to understand the factors associated with becoming a caregiver to a person with a chronic illness and examines the dynamics among caregivers over time. A total of 1485 participants were drawn from a study conducted in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Two waves of data collected in 2006 for the baseline and a follow-up in 2009 were used. Information on the demographic, self-reported health and socioeconomic characteristics such as education, sources of livelihood and employment status was used. Age was a significant factor in becoming a caregiver, but there were no significant differences by gender or marital status. New caregivers and those with more than one care-giving episode had a higher socioeconomic position than non-caregivers. Caregivers also had poorer health compared with non-caregivers, highlighting the association between being a caregiver and negative health outcomes. Additionally, having cared for someone with a HIV-related illness compared with other chronic conditions increased the likelihood of subsequently caring for another person in need of long-term care. This may be due to the heterosexual mode of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa, hence clustering of infection within family or married couples. This finding draws attention to the need to provide timely interventions to caregivers for people with HIV-related illness who are likely to end up providing care to multiple care recipients. Furthermore, there is a need to enhance the indispensable contribution of informal caregivers through incorporating their role within the continuum of care for effective HIV and AIDS management. Overall, informal caregivers to persons with chronic illnesses perform the tasks of care-giving without any formal support from health or social services. Therefore, it is crucial to initiate policies and programmes to ease the burden of care that is borne by informal caregivers.

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