Research articles

The HIV/AIDS caregiver identity as a double-edged sword: a discourse analysis on HIV/AIDS caregiving in South Africa


Abstract

This article discusses the identity of HIV/AIDS caregivers as constructed by a group of HIV/AIDS caregivers at a non-profit organisation in South Africa. During a 12-month period data were collected through interviews with the organisation's staff and volunteers. Using discourse analysis, the study identified a caregiver identity constructed by participants. This caregiving identity acts as a double-edged sword: while the rewards of caregiving act as a buffer against stressful experiences, the prescriptive nature of the caregiver identity is taxing, and may explain burnout among HIV/AIDS caregivers. The study concludes that for support systems for HIV/AIDS caregivers to be effective, the social culture and identity of HIV/AIDS caregivers must be considered.

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