Issues of sexuality and prevention among adolescents living with HIV/AIDS since birth

Fernet, Mylëne; Proulx-Boucher, Karëne; Richard, Marie-Eve; Levy, Joseph Josy; Otis, Joanne; Samson, Joanne; Massie, Lyne; Lapointe, Normand; Thérlault, Jocelyne; Trottier, Germain
September 2007
Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality;2007, Vol. 16 Issue 3/4, p101
Academic Journal
There have been few studies on sexuality, relationships, and HIV prevention issues among HIV+ adolescents and fewer still that have dealt with youth living with HIV/AIDS since birth. In the present qualitative study, we conducted individual, semi-structured, taped interviews on these topics with 29 youth perinatally infected with HIV. The 15 girls and 14 boys, 10-18 years of age, have been followed at the Centre Maternel et Infantile sur le SIDA (CMIS), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal. Content analysis of the interview transcripts revealed two dimensions related to HIV prevention. From a rational perspective, the youth were generally knowledgeable about modes of HIV transmission and modes of prevention, including consistent condom use, From an affective perspective, they were clear about their responsibility to protect their current or future partners but fearful that efforts to do so might disclose their HIV status with subsequent threat of rejection, stigmatization and compromised relationships. The concealment strategies they adopted to address the tensions inherent in this situation are discussed in terms of their own psychosexual development and of interventions by parents, caregivers and professionals to foster healthy and satisfying sexuality for HIV+ youth and their partners.


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