Psychological Intervention for Young People Living with HIV – Virus Example

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"Psychological Intervention for Young People Living with HIV" is a great example of a paper on the virus. The world is recently challenged by the increasing number of both young and adult populace that is infected with transmissible HIV disease. Many of those found positive confront the dilemma and shame of disclosing their conditions fearing that their families and immediate community will stigmatize and scorn them till death for bearing such illness. This paper seeks to qualitatively review studies pertaining to psychosocial therapy and support accorded to young persons living with HIV.

It aims to clarify and explicate the necessity of emotional and psychological intervention for these young survivors of HIV to provide them meaningful life and motivation to undertake medical services and support to keep them living while bearing this health problem. It will illustrate how the psychosocial intervention is provided to share hope for these children and teens, as well as, make them better persons despite everything. This is a qualitative review on psychosocial intervention for young people living with HIV, a transmissible disease that can infect a person through sexual contact or by other means known to many physicians.

Researched materials generally used and employed surveys, interviews, and secondary materials in their studies to support and explicate the conditions of the young populace living with HIV. This study is limited and focused only on young people living with HIV, thus, consider only the plight of children and teens. Kumar, Mmari, and Barnes (2012) pointed that there are already 1.7 billion young people within the age bracket of 10 to 24 years in the world that are infected with HIV disease and about 85% of them are living in developing countries.

Kumar et al (2012) reported that the mortality rate of HIV-infected persons is 3% and most of them reduced their chance of survival at the age of 60 in countries with a high percentile of HIV-infected population. Nowadays, young people are the fastest-growing cohort of new HIV infections globally reaching about 40% of new HIV-infected people in 2007 (Kumar et al, 2012). There are about 5 million young people that are nowadays living with HIV and there are an estimated 5,000 youths aging 15 and 24 years that are infected every day (Kumar et al, 2012). These global figures likely underestimate the total burden of HIV borne by young people, as there has been no systematic evaluation of the numbers of youth who are long-term survivors of perinatal infection.

New evidence and estimations of HIV’ s effect on child mortality bared that about 13% of perinatally infected children can only survive up to the age of 10 years. But noting that the global interventions of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programs have just been recently introduced in high-risk countries, it is always possible that cohort may contribute significantly to the increasing number of youths living with HIV.

Albeit the rigorous efforts for HIV prevention, however, the incessant sexuality and the social nature of all persons can increase the numbers of youth living with HIV. HIV-infected persons have dire needs for psychosocial support knowing that this can cause social stigma and can evoke innate anger or shock after being diagnosed positive thereof (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012). Relation with immediate families and friends will be altered, thus limits their social nature and level of interactions. Psychosocial therapy for HIV-infected persons can bring about positive outcomes.

Experts posit that this can help enhance a survivor's response to health service; strengthen his behavior while exercising preventive measures; and, mitigate the possibility that extreme depression may result in suicidal tendencies (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012). In a survey conducted by researchers in the United States, psychosocial intervention was mentioned many times perceived as the most helpful measure that could help them live with HIV, especially as they progress their lives with the disease and death (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012).

  Such happened with Tanzanian women or in Vermont, the US too who grapples with death every day hence, they are put into Project Teens and Adults Learning to Communicate (PTALC) to keep them informed of the implications and consequences of being an HIV patient (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012). In such a way, they will be assisted to come into terms with their selves and to be able to communicate their condition to their partners, friends, health service providers, and colleagues.

This phase is going to be difficult and emotion will be tested as one seeks a compassionate understanding of his or her condition (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012). A survey done to HIV infected Nigerian respondents revealed that they all expect economic, social, spiritual, social, and emotional support as they struggle on varying levels of stigmatization (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012). As many will misunderstand them, researchers thought that disclosing their state would be much difficult. This experience is true to both adults and children that are HIV-infected since the kind of discomfort they’ d encounter is truly distressing. Health experts further explicate that many HIV-infected people at first may express hope as they commence their antiretroviral treatment and therapy every day to hinder the progress of the disease.

This requires a strong commitment from patients and close monitoring by health providers to effectively keep them adherents to the medication process (AVERTing HIV & Aids, 2012). Psychosocial support is needed here to enable them to pursue their medication without being betrayed by their anger, loss of meaningfulness, and weakening of their sense of purposefulness.

These feelings are more felt by lactating mothers infected with HIV because of the disease’ s transmissibility to their children. They need to be taught alternative lactation methods and to be strong against the tides of opinions that may affect their decision-making. These mothers confront risks to improve their knowledge through counseling on practical options to avoid more distress. Children also should be slowly informed of their infection as a significant step for them to accept medication and to encourage them to be forge better relationships with their parents and immediate kin.

Acceptance of their possible fate is a strategy to reshape their views of life and to keep them in touch with the realities of their very lives to help them positively deal with emotional stress. In a study aimed at determining the extent of stigma, researchers opined that “ disclosure and socio-economic factors will affect infant feeding options after birth by pregnant HIV positive women following the counseling process” (Nteboheleng, Wittenberg, Makin, Jeffery, MacIntyre, and Forsyth, 2008, p. 1).   This study was employed on 293 HIV-infected women from four antenatal clinics in two Tshwane townships (Nteboheleng, et. al., 2008).

74% of these respondents used formula feed whilst 26% planned to breastfeed or mixed feed their babies (Nteboheleng, et. al., 2008). Findings bare that women who intended to breastfeed had a lower coping capacity and had poor confidence to disclose their condition to their husbands (Nteboheleng, et. al., 2008). Researchers found out that these women are married and have knowledgeable about the transmissibility of HIV infection through breastfeeding, thus, their children could inherit this disease from them. The researcher further asserted that counseling should be undertaken continuously to these women and therefore requires a community-based intervention to assist them and their children cope and disclose their condition to their spouses and family members (Nteboheleng, et. al., 2008; Melvin, Donaghy, & Conway, 2012). HIV is a communicable disease.

Non-infected persons need to likewise be educated about how this kind of disease is countered to prevent their infection. However, compassion should likewise be taught to those who are non-infected so that they can help and relate with those youths infected with HIV and become partners too in assisting them to come to terms with their conditions.

HIV free people can also advocate for rigorous encouragement for health and psychosocial interventions.


AVERTing HIV & Aids (2012). Living with HIV: Emotional Needs and Support. International HIV and AIDS charity. Accessed: September 30, 2012.

Kumar, S., Mmari, K.,& Barnes, W. (2012). Programming Considerations for Youth-Friendly HIV Care and Treatment Services. Sidebar: Meeting the Psychosocial Needs of Children and Adolescents Living with HIV through Health Worker Training. From The Ground, Up. Accessed: September 30, 2012.

Nteboheleng, J., Wittenberg, M.D.F., Makin, J.D., Jeffery, B., MacIntyre, U.E., Forsyth BWC.(2008). Psychosocial and economic determinants of infant feeding intent by pregnant HIV infected women in Tshwane/Pretoria. South African Journal of Child Health, Vol 2, No 3.

Melvin, D., Donaghy, S., & Conway, M. (2012). Talking to children about their health and HIV diagnosis. Children's HIV Association (CHIVA). The UK. Accessed: September 30, 2012.

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