Maternal HIV Illness and its Impact on Children’s Well-being and Development in Haiti

Donaldson F. Conserve, Eddy Eustache, Catherine M. Oswald, Ermaze Louis, Fiona Scanlan, Joia S. Mukherjee, Pamela Surkan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Little is known about the impact of parental HIV illness on children’s well-being and development in the island nations of the Caribbean. Study objectives were to examine mothers’ experiences of impact of HIV illness on their children’s well-being and development in Haiti. Baseline interviews were conducted between 2006 and 2007 with 25 HIV-positive mothers as part of a larger study that examined the feasibility of a psychosocial support group intervention for HIV-affected youth and their caregivers in central Haiti. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded for topical themes by two investigators. Main themes related to impact of maternal HIV illness on children’s well-being were the lack of mothers’ physical strength to take care of their children, and difficulties in providing housing and food for their children. Children’s school enrollment, attendance, and performance were also affected by their mother’s illness. Mothers reported that although their children were HIV-negative, children were distressed by HIV-related stigma that they and their mothers experienced. Findings suggest that children living in HIV-affected families in this region face disadvantages in nutritional, educational, and psychological outcomes. These considerations should be taken into account when designing interventions to support children living in HIV-affected families in this setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2779-2785
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 9 2014



  • Caribbean
  • Children
  • Development
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Maternal health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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