Blessing’s (Life) Story: An Adolescent in Residential Care Living with HIV

  • Jenita Chiba University of Johannesburg Centre for Social Development in Africa http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5932-9164
  • Jeanette Schmid University of Johannesburg Centre for Social Development in Africa
Keywords: perinatal infection, adolescence, HIV and AIDS, identity, social connectedness, residential care facility

Abstract

The lifespan of perinatally HIV-infected children in South Africa has increased owing to the availability of antiretroviral treatment, allowing growth into adolescence and beyond. There is limited knowledge of the lived realities of adolescents with HIV. This paper, using life story methodology and based on Blessing’s narrative, provides an intersectional, complex view of the experience of one such teenager who is perinatally HIV-positive, was abandoned by his family and is living in a residential care facility. His story powerfully illuminates the specific construction of adolescence in this context, focusing on identity formation and the need for connection. The narrative also points to service providers’ practice when engaged with such youths.

Published
2019-08-08
Section
Articles