Religion, Spirituality and Resilience of HIV Positive Children in Zimbabwe

Seneliso Mpofu, Vincent Mabvurira, Trevor Chirimambowa

Abstract


HIV has widely affected many people including children and young people and has posed a threat to their lives. Various studies have, therefore, focused on bringing about interventions directed at improving the lives of people living with HIV. Religion and spirituality emerge as other factors enhancing the coping capacity of children living with HIV. The study aimed to explore the impact of religion and spirituality on the resilience of HIV positive children in Zimbabwe. The study was qualitative in nature and it targeted clients of a not for profit organizations (NPO) that provides psycho-social support to HIV positive children in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The study was informed by the resilience theory which explains the importance of the coping capacity of children in adverse situations. A sample of 24 HIV positive children and three caregivers participated in the study. Data were collected through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. The findings reflected that religion and spirituality are crucial in offering psychosocial support to HIV positive children. The key findings indicated that religion and spirituality help with emotional healing, acceptance of HIV status, conflict resolution and strengthens bonds promoting their resilience. However, it was shown that they also have negative impacts including involuntary disclosure, stigma and discrimination, poor adherence to medication and caused depression and anxiety. It was therefore recommended that there is need to create platforms for child participation, promote inclusion of children in religious organizations and sensitize religious leaders on HIV and its effects on the lives of children infected.


Keywords


Religion and spirituality; Resilience; HIV positive children; Resilience theory

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/11341

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