Psychosocial consequences of early diagnosis of HIV status in vertically exposed infants in Johannesburg, South Africa

Health Care Women Int. 2005 May;26(5):387-97. doi: 10.1080/07399330590933935.


Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is the most common source of HIV infection in children. One topic that has received virtually no attention in MTCT-related research and programming is the psychosocial consequences among parents and families of receiving a definitive diagnosis of infant HIV status. This study explored experiences of HIV-infected mothers in Johannesburg, South Africa, regarding infant testing and diagnosis. Data collection entailed a key informant workshop and repeat interviews with a convenience sample of 31 HIV-infected mothers. While early testing was desirable, diagnosis had both beneficial and detrimental psychosocial effects, especially in instances of serodiscordance. Programmatic implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infant Care / methods
  • Infant Welfare
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Maternal Welfare
  • Mothers* / education
  • Mothers* / psychology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / psychology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology*
  • Social Support
  • South Africa
  • Surveys and Questionnaires