Being HIV and AIDS affected : how it affects the school life of an African female adolescent learner in KwaZulu-Natal.
The HlV and AIDS pandemic has affected millions of people worldwide. In 2004, statistics released by UNAlDS revealed that the number of people infected with HIV and AIDS had reached 42 million worldwide. Much has been written about the plight of those infected with the disease but not as much attention is focused on those who, although uninfected, suffer the effects of living with a family member or close friend who is HIV positive. There are those children of school-going age who live with, care for and are affected by the HIV and AIDS infected. These children are affected in all spheres - in their home life, their relationships, and their academic life at school. Studies show that these HIV and AIDS affected adolescents constitute an at-risk population. This study attempts to understand the impact of being HIV and AIDS affected on adolescent learners. A qualitative approach was employed in conducting this research. Purposive sampling was used to select an information rich individual, one African, female, articulate adolescent learner. The case study method was employed. The data was obtained by means of open-ended questions in numerous interviews. The findings indicated that the HIV and AIDS affected learner experienced significant difficulties, such as depression, isolation, fear of stigma and developmentally inappropriate responsibilities. These difficulties had an impact on all areas of her life - her school life, peer relationships, relationships with teachers, her family life, and her development.