Family Care in HIV/AIDS: Exploring Lived Experience

Premilla D'Cruz, Sage, 2004, 219 p, tables, ISBN : 8178293625, $20.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Family Care in HIV/AIDS: Exploring Lived Experience/Premilla D'Cruz

Contents: 1. Introduction: the dynamics of family care. 2. HIV/AIDS and family care. 3. Contextualizing the study. 4. Losing autonomy and redefining family relationships. 5. Struggling to prolong life. 6. Preserving family and learning whom to count on. 7. The way forward. References. Index.

"Family care has become a topic of immense contemporary significance globally because of the growing number of families providing care to the chronically ill, the disabled and the elderly. The unique features of the HIV/AIDS infection complicate the dynamics of family care: often the caregiver as well as the care receiver is unwell; and the developmental stages of caregivers and care receivers give rise to role reversals leading to major upheavals in families.

This book vividly describes family care in HIV/AIDS through the lived experiences of caregivers and care receivers. It contributes to our knowledge not only because of the contemporary relevance of family care giving, but also because of its focus on HIV/AIDS which, being a relatively new disease, is little understood yet poses unique challenges due to its stigmatising, long-drawn, debilitating and terminal nature. Based on a study conducted in Mumbai, Family Care in HIV/AIDS captures the lived experiences of 10 caregivers and seven care receivers belonging to diverse socio-economic groups and traditional as well as non-traditional family settings.

Premilla D'cruz adopts a phenomenological research strategy which enables her to grasp the essence of the experience of both caregivers and care receivers. The study shows that the experience of the care receiver is captured in two core themes: losing autonomy and redefining family relationships. On the other hand, the seronegative caregivers' experience centred around their struggle to prolong the lives of their loved ones; while the experience of seropositive caregiving wives is embodied in the key themes of preserving family and learning whom to count on.

Overall, the book provides valuable insights into a range of important issues related to caregiving in family settings while identifying areas for intervention and further research. In addition, it overcomes many gaps identified in the substantive area of family care by Western researchers. Timely and informative, this book will interest scholars and students in departments of family studies, nursing, psychology and social work, as well as doctors, counsellors, health planners and activists, donor agencies, government health departments, NGOs and policy makers."

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