Background. Children infected with HIV are entering adolescence with challenging and changing medical and social needs. Through chart review we describe certain medical and social characteristics of adolescents who acquired HIV as children. Methods. HIV-infected children 12 years of age and older in 1995 were monitored through the Pediatric Spectrum of HIV Disease study from four US sites. In addition to Standard 6-month medical chart reviews, a special chart abstraction in 1997 collected available psychosocial and sexual history information. Results. A total of 131 adolescents HIV- infected as children were studied: 52 infected perinatally; 44 infected through a contaminated blood transfusion; 30 through receipt of contaminated blood products for hemophilia; and 5 with unknown transmission mode. Mean age at last medical contact was 15.5 years, 67% were Hispanic or African- American, 12% were employed, 66% attended regular school, 66% knew their HIV status and 48% (8% for the perinatally infected) lived with their biologic mother. Information on sexual activity showed that 18% had sexual relations, 28% did not and for 53% sexual activity was not recorded in the medical chart. Four percent used illicit drugs, which along with sexual activity showed a positive association with age. Forty-two percent had an AIDS- defining opportunistic infection, and 56% had a recent CD4+ lymphocyte count <200 cells/μl. Conclusions. Adolescents in this study represent a heterogeneous group of surviving HIV-infected children some of whom are sexually active and potential sources of HIV transmission. Clinicians who treat HIV-infected and high risk adolescents face the challenges of providing care and prevention services appropriate to adolescent development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases
- Acquired immunodeficiency virus
- Human immunodeficiency virus