Family secrets. HIV positive children and adolescents. A psychoanalytically-oriented approach This paper illustrates a psychoanalytically oriented study on HIV positive children and adolescents, carried out by a team of clinical psychologists and psychotherapists of the Paediatric Department of the University Federico II in Naples. The authors first describe the collaboration between the departments of Paediatrics and Psychology and then examine three case studies of children - on the threshold of adolescence, expressing different degrees of awareness of their disease or of their personal family history. HIV patients have to face the communication of the diagnosis of their chronic and life-threatening disease, but they also have to deal with other specific problems such as: the loss of one or both their parents and the problematic social circumstances that brought about their parents’ sickness (drug-addiction, sexual promiscuity). The teams tend, as a result, to delay the communication of the diagnosis, that remains undisclosed. The team’s work - that comprises a variety of psychological services - aims at putting together the conditions that allow a gradual and cautious communication of the diagnosis while supporting the children, adolescents, parents and/or caregivers, physicians and nurses in this complex process. Keywords: HIV, diagnosis, communication, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, adolescents, caregivers.
Simonetta M.G. Adamo, Wanda de Cristofaro, Raffaella De Falco, Patrizia Giacometti, Zeno Giusti, Francesca Mancini, Gerarda Siani, in "RIVISTA SPERIMENTALE DI FRENIATRIA" 2/2008, pp. 43-69, DOI: