- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
Teens born with HIV not telling partners
A significant number of sexually active U.S. teens who were born with HIV either didn't know their own status when they started having sex, or they knew it but didn't disclose it to their first sex partners, a new study says.
These findings underscore the need for counseling on sex practices to youth who have been living with HIV since birth, said the study, which appears in the Dec. 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.
It is "extremely important for health-care providers, school counselors and family members to reinforce the importance of practicing safe sex, taking medication regularly and disclosing HIV status to potential partners," said Dr. Rohan Hazra, study co-author and researcher at the pediatric, adolescent and maternal AIDS branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.
The new study is the first to focus on factors associated with the initial sexual activity of young people who acquired HIV before, during or soon after birth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that some 10,000 children and teens are living with HIV after being infected with the virus before or at birth. Medical advancements are making mother-child transmission of HIV rare in the U.S., but dozens of perinatal infections still occur each year, often because the mother doesn't know she has HIV.
The study involved 330 HIV-positive children and teens, ages 10 to 18, in the federally funded Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study.
From 2007 to2009, these youth were asked several times about their sexual experiences through computer-assisted self-interviews.
Ninety-two young people, or 28 percent, said they had sexual intercourse at least once, with debut typically around their 14th birthday. More than half of these youth said they had unprotected sex at least once.
Of 67 who answered questions about whether they disclosed their HIV status to their first sexual partners, about 12 didn't know they were HIV positive before they first had sex. Of the rest, two-thirds didn't tell their HIV status to their sex partners, although most used condoms anyway.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends counseling for parents and caregivers of HIV-positive children so this issue can be fully addressed at the right time. "Adolescents should know their HIV status," the academy added, so they can be fully informed about health issues, "including sexual behavior."
"It's not easy" to talk about one's HIV-status, even as an adult, said Dr. Laura Guay, vice president of research at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
Many times, parents or caregivers will tell children with HIV that they're going to doctors because "you have an illness, or your system is weak and you have to take these pills to make you stronger or fight infection," Dr. Guay said. As a result, children may not hear the actual words, "HIV" and "AIDS," until they are age 10, 12 or later.
As for sex education, programs are aimed at helping teens avoid getting AIDS, not dealing with it all one's life, she noted.
While using condoms and protecting oneself is an important message, HIV-positive teens need additional support and education about how to prevent transmission and still have a normal and healthy life, said Dr. Guay, adding that the Elizabeth Glaser foundation has HIV-positive teen "ambassadors" who speak on these very issues to other teens.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Public accommodations provision in Md. transgender rights bill draws outcry
- German home-school family can stay in U.S. indefinitely
- U.S. Supreme Court declines German home-school case
- Medical facility 'buffer-zone' law in court
- Relationship video sparks backlash, blames the birth control pill
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- Otter attacks, kills alligator at Florida wildlife refuge
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again