Understanding coping strategies of mothers living with HIV who care for children living with HIV: a qualitative study in Indonesia

Nelsensius Klau Fauk, Hailay Abrha Gesesew, Lillian Mwanri, Karen Hawke, Maria Silvia Merry, Gregorius Abanit Asa, Paul Russell Ward

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3 Citations (Scopus)


HIV infection and its sequelae continue to be a significant challenge among women and their families in developing countries despite the progress that has been made in the prevention and treatment of HIV. This paper describes the strategies employed by mothers with HIV to cope with the various challenges experienced following their own and their children's HIV diagnosis. This paper uses previously unpublished data collected for a study that sought to explore the mental health challenges and coping strategies of mothers living with HIV (MLHIV) (n = 23) who have children living with HIV (CLHIV). Data collection was conducted using in-depth interviews, and participants were recruited using the snowball sampling technique. The concept of meaning-making was used to guide the conceptualisation, analysis, and discussion of the findings. Our analysis showed that meaning-making such as the awareness of how important mothers were to their children/CLHIV and families and religious meaning were used by participants to cope with HIV-related and mental health challenges they faced. The meaning of mother-child relationship which was supported and maintained through the provision of time, attention and fulfillment of CLHIV's needs were also coping strategies employed by these women. Additional coping strategies used were to link their CLHIV to groups and activities of CLHIV. The connections made through these links enabled their children to know other CLHIV, build relationships, and share experiences. These findings are useful evidence that can inform policies and practices and indicate the need for the development of intervention programs that address the needs of MLHIV and their families to cope with HIV-related challenges of their children. Future large-scale studies involving MLHIV who have CLHIV are recommended to have a comprehensive understanding of strategies they employ to cope with HIV-related challenging circumstances and mental health issues that they continue to face.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2023


  • Children living with HIV
  • Coping strategies
  • Indonesia
  • Mothers living with HIV


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