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UCLA/RAND study shows that many children of HIV-positive parents are not in their custody
Date:9/6/2007

A new joint study by UCLA and the Rand Corp. shows that more than half of children with an HIV-infected parent are not consistently in that parents custody.

Researchers found that during the two-year study period, 42 percent of children were not in the HIV-infected parents custody at any time.

The research is the first to use data from a nationally representative sample of people in care for HIV infection to investigate the custody status of children. The findings will be published in the online version of the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics on Sept 4.

Children of HIV-infected parents are at risk for behavioral and emotional problems. A stable home may help these children and their parents cope with the effects of HIV on the family, said lead author Burt Cowgill, M.P.H., a doctoral candidate in the department of health services at the UCLA School of Public Health and a researcher at the UCLA/Rand Center for Adolescent Health Promotion. By understanding whether children of HIV-infected parents remain in their parents custody, pediatricians and other physicians may be able to help families address custody issues and offer referrals to social services.

Cowgill added that pediatricians may also want to suggest that HIV-infected parents include future custodians in their childrens doctor visits so that these individuals are familiar with the physical and mental health needs of the children.

Using data from the Rand Corp.s HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study, the team investigated whether HIV-infected parents had maintained custody of their children during the two-year period from 1996 to 1998. They found that 47 percent of children remained in the custody of an HIV-infected parent, while 42 percent were not in the parents custody at any time. The remaining 11 percent were out of their parents custody at some time during the study period.

HIV-infected fathers, parents with more advanced HIV disease
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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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