A Qualitative Exploration of the Mental Health and Psychosocial Contexts of HIV-Positive Adolescents in Tanzania.

Published online

Journal Article

Although 85% of HIV-positive adolescents reside in sub-Saharan Africa, little is known about the psychosocial and mental health factors affecting their daily well-being. Identifying these contextual variables is key to development of culturally appropriate and effective interventions for this understudied and high-risk population. The purpose of this study was to identify salient psychosocial and mental health challenges confronted by HIV-positive youth in a resource-poor Tanzanian setting. A total of 24 qualitative interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of adolescents aged 12-24 receiving outpatient HIV care at a medical center in Moshi, Tanzania. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded using thematic analysis. Psychosocial challenges identified included loss of one or more parents, chronic domestic abuse, financial stressors restricting access to medical care and education, and high levels of internalized and community stigma among peers and other social contacts. Over half of youth (56%) reported difficulties coming to terms with their HIV diagnosis and espoused related feelings of self-blame. These findings highlight the urgent need to develop culturally proficient programs aimed at helping adolescents cope with these manifold challenges. Results from this study guided the development of Sauti ya Vijana (The Voice of Youth), a 10-session group mental health intervention designed to address the psychosocial and mental health needs of HIV-positive Tanzanian youth.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ramaiya, MK; Sullivan, KA; O' Donnell, K; Cunningham, CK; Shayo, AM; Mmbaga, BT; Dow, DE

Published Date

  • 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 11 / 11

Start / End Page

  • e0165936 -

PubMed ID

  • 27851797

Pubmed Central ID

  • 27851797

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1932-6203

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1371/journal.pone.0165936

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States