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Study finds fears of HIV transmission in families with infected parent
Date:11/3/2008

Despite ongoing efforts to educate the public about HIV, a new study by researchers from UCLA, the RAND Corp., Harvard University and Children's Hospital Boston has found that two-thirds of families with an HIV-infected parent experience fears about spreading HIV in the home.

The qualitative study is the first to interview multiple family members, including minor children, in families with an HIV-infected parent about their concerns over HIV transmission in the household. The findings will be published in the November issue of the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics.

"We found that many of the worries were based on misconceptions about how HIV is spread," said lead study author Burt Cowgill, a staff researcher at the UCLA|RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion. "We also learned that HIV-infected parents had legitimate concerns about contracting infections such as a cold, flu or chicken pox while caring for a sick child. This knowledge could help pediatricians to address children's specific fears about HIV transmission as well as help clinicians who care for the HIV-infected parents."

Between March 2004 and March 2005, the team conducted interviews with 33 HIV-infected parents, 27 of their minor children (ages 9 to 17), 19 adult children and 15 caregivers (spouses, partners, grandparents or friends). All HIV-infected parents had previously participated in the RAND Corp.'s HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, a national probability sample of people over 18 with known HIV infection.

Interview questions were open-ended and broad to elicit a detailed description of family members' experiences. In addition, follow-up questions focused on whether respondents' fears subsided over time and what was done in the household to address them.

In a majority of the families, participants reported HIV transmission-related fears in the household. Concerns included acquiring HIV through contact with blood from a parent's cu
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Contact: Amy Albin
aalbin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-8672
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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