Parents’ perceptions of ethical issues in adolescents’ HIV care and treatment at Temeke Regional Referral Hospital, Tanzania
Background. Decisions to test, enrol and disclose HIV status are among the ethical challenges that may influence adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and HIV care and treatment in adolescents living with HIV. In the Tanzanian setting, how parental perceptions of ethical issues affect adolescents’ adherence to HIV care and treatment is not well known.
Objective. To explore parental perceptions of ethical issues in adolescent HIV care and treatment.
Methods. The study employed a descriptive qualitative exploratory design and was conducted at Temeke Regional Referral Hospital in Dar es Salaam Care and Treatment Centre (CTC) in the Outpatient Department (OPD). The study population were parents and non-parent caregivers of HIV-infected adolescents 10 - 19 years of age. A total of 16 persons participated in semi-structured interviews after their consent was obtained. All interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim in Swahili and back-translated into English. An inductive content analysis was used, and standards of qualitative rigour applied.
Results. Three qualitative themes emerged: balancing adolescents’ autonomy with parents’ desire to protect their children; parental dilemmas regarding disclosure of adolescents’ HIV status; and parental reasons for delayed disclosure.
Conclusion. Participants perceived that parental authority should override adolescents’ autonomy in HIV care and treatment. Disclosure of HIV status to adolescents is a challenge to parents. Delays in disclosure often occur because parents feel guilty and because they have fears of rejection by their adolescent children.