Social support is an important buffer for family caregivers of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHIV/AIDS). With limited formal support options, these caregivers have to rely increasingly on informal networks. Yet, accessing this avenue is also fraught with difficulty due to the stigmatising nature of HIV infection. Research in this area is not just not sparse, but focusses largely on sources of support and the circumscribing effects of stigma. To further our understanding, a qualitative study was conducted using various concepts from social support theory. Twelve family caregivers in Mumbai, India, were interviewed, using the in-depth interview method. An iterative, thematic analysis was done through which themes and major themes were identified. Major themes included sources of support, types of support received, spontaneous support, soliciting support, caregivers' perceptions of support experiences and reciprocity. The findings raised several issues for intervention.


Family caregiving, social support, HIV/AIDS

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