Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health

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Finding the HIV Positive Mother Symposium: HIV and its meanings within the mother-infant dyad

Carol Long


Despite the prevalence of maternal HIV infection, HIV positive mothers have only recently become a focus of psychological-scientific investigation. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, some of the key findings to emerge from this literature will be presented with reference to the key themes of disclosure, incidence of psychiatric symptoms, coping and support and parenting efficacy. The second purpose is to interrogate this research in order to “find” the HIV positive mother. This will be done by examining some of the gaps and points of irrationality in the literature to identify points at which the construction of motherhood either slips in contradictory or nonsensical ways or becomes general and vague. The emergent themes of absence, death, guilt and abnormality will be illustrated with examples from the literature.

Southern African Jnl Child and Adolescent Mental Health Vol.14(2) 2002: 79-90

AJOL African Journals Online