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New research on family-based HIV prevention presented at annual NIH conference
Date:10/7/2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Researchers from the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC) presented exciting new research today at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Annual International Research Conference on the Role of Families in Preventing and Adapting to HIV/AIDS. The three-day conference, held in Providence, R.I. from October 6-8, drew several hundred researchers, clinicians and service providers to discuss the most effective approaches to working with families that are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. This year's conference theme was "Meeting the Needs of Families in the Mental Health and Criminal Justice Systems."

Family intervention key to HIV prevention efforts in kids with mental illness

Previous research has shown that teens in mental health treatment have high rates of risky sexual behavior, such as not using condoms, which can increase their risk for HIV. Now a new study suggests that family interventions are successful in encouraging these teens to engage in safe sex, despite the cognitive and emotional effects of their mental illness.

According to researchers at the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center (BHCRC), parental supervision (such as knowing where your child is and what they're doing) and parent-child communication about sex both play important roles in decreasing the HIV and sexual risks of teens with mental health issues.

"It's clear that family involvement is critical in the development of the sexual attitudes and behaviors of teenagers. However, this is particularly important for teens with psychiatric disorders whose decision-making abilities may be hindered by their illness, causing them to engage in risky behaviors that can potentially expose them to HIV," says lead author Wendy Hadley, PhD, of the BHCRC.

More than 700 teens (ages 13 to 18) in psychiatric programs participated in the study, known as Project STYLE (Strengthening Today's Youth Life Experience
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Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes
jgrimes2@lifespan.org
401-432-1328
Lifespan
Source:Eurekalert

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