“When I went to camp, it made me free”: A longitudinal qualitative study of a residential intervention for adolescents living with HIV in the UK

Irina Lut, Michael Evangeli, Amanda Ely

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There are nearly two million children living with HIV globally. This population faces many challenges impacting on their wellbeing. One approach to mitigating the effect of HIV on children living with the condition is to offer psychosocial interventions residentially. There has been limited published research on the effects of residential interventions (camps) and, in particular, whether these are maintained over time. This study explored the experiences and perceived impact of attending a camp for young people living with HIV in the UK. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with eleven young people (aged 12–16 years, six female) six weeks after camp. Eight of these participants completed a follow-up interview six months after camp. The data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Six main themes were identified: connecting with new friends and feeling less alone; gaining HIV knowledge and learning about living with HIV; developing a positive self-image; communicating more purposefully; becoming more autonomous; and a desire to engage further with the HIV community. The majority of these themes were reported both at the six week and six month follow-up points. Participants felt that the intervention had increased their confidence, decreased their anxiety about sharing their HIV status and widened their support network. Practice and research implications are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-431
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

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