Persons living with chronic illness face many challenges in their everyday lives such as pain, fatigue, and complicated medication regimens. Their families must often learn to cope with these challenges as well. The extent to which family members are willing and able to assist with daily activities and provide emotional support can greatly affect the quality of life for persons with chronic illness. In the case of HI V / AIDS, the burdens
More than 750,000 Americans are living with HIV or AIDS (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2003). The majority of HI V positi ve males over the age of 13 identify themsel ves as men who have sex with men. Most females over the age of 13li ving with HIV I AIDS were infected through heterosexual contact (CDC, 2003). The primary modes of transmission of HIV are through intravenous drug use and sexual intercourse. During recent years, the number of AIDS cases among intravenous drug users has decreased while the number of those exposed through heterosexual contact has increased. AIDS affects women and minorities at an increasingly disproportionate rate. Although the number of AIDS cases among men has grown 1 % between 1999 and 2003, the number of cases among women increased 13% during the same amount of time. AIDS cases among Whites have decreased while increasing among blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans (CDC, 2003). An increasing number of parents infected with HIV calls for approaches to treatment that consider the needs of the entire family. These parents are coping with the stressors of parenting as they struggle to Ii ve with difficult symptoms of the disease and complicated treatment regimens. Families need help coping with negative social attitudes and discrimination that often accompany an HIV diagnosis (Lee & Rotheram-Borus, 2003; Mok & Cooper, 1997).