Clinical Infectious Diseases (11.07.12)
A study by Katherine Tassiopoulos, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues examined sexual behavior of children born with HIV infection and who are now at the age of being sexually active. The researchers conducted cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of youth aged 10–18 years who are enrolled in the US-based Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study between 2007 and 2009.
Of 330 youth, 92 (28 percent) reported having sexual intercourse, and 57 (62 percent) of the sexually active youth reported having unprotected sex. Only 33 percent disclosed their HIV status to their first partner. Youth living with a relative other than the biological mother had higher odds of engaging in unprotected sex than those living with a nonrelative. Of the 92 youth who were sexually active, 39 had a high viral load (greater than or equal to 5,000 copies/ml) after sexual initiation. Additional testing for 37 of the 39 youth indicated drug resistance.
The researchers concluded that as youth born with HIV become sexually active, certain behaviors can place their sexual partners at risk of acquiring HIV infection—and even drug-resistant HIV. The researchers recommend interventions for such teens including a focus on condom use, disclosure, treatment adherence, and safe sex practices to prevent further transmission of HIV/AIDS.