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Focus on ICASA 2015: Parents disclosing to their children

The 18th edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) was held in Zimbabwe at the end of 2015. The conference, which brought together leading scientists, practitioners, activists and organizations, started on 29 November and ended on 4 December. AJAN was represented at ICASA by participants from AJAN House and from Benin, Madagascar, Burundi and Zimbabwe itself. They contributed to the collective pool of knowledge and resources by sharing their own experiences, best practices and pragmatic approaches. Masy Razafindradama from the Centre Social Arrupe in Madagascar writes: 

I attended an interesting session that featured focus groups of people living with HIV sharing about the all-important issue of disclosure. One group from Mutoko Clinic in the rural world of Zimbabwe talked about the positive consequences experienced when they told their children that they were HIV-positive. The parents wanted to disclose their status to explain why they take medication, to have someone to help them collect their medication from the clinic and to remind them to take it, and also to get support when ill. When they disclosed, they expected to receive acceptance, understanding, sympathy, love and encouragement, as well as concrete help and support. And their expectations appear to have been met. The parents said they felt relieved, loved and accepted after breaking the news to their children. They revealed a deep understanding of disclosure as a process and not a one-off event. For them, telling their children was a way of keeping communication alive and involving the children in the process of understanding what is going on in their home. All this contributed to creating an atmosphere in the family of support, acceptance, love and trust. 



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