International AIDS Society


Optimal timing for disclosure of HIV sero-status to vertically infected children and adolescents in Uganda

I. Kalyesubula1, M. Mubiru2, V. Nakimbugwe1, S.A. Kelly3,4, G. Ndeezi2, H. Namusisi3, E. Kangavve3, B. Kasule3, M. Boivin5, G.E. Schutze6, K. Olness4, and the Staff of Baylor College of Medicine Children Foundation Uganda

Background: With or without ARVs vertically HIV infected children are growing to adulthood. They need to learn their HIV status as they prepare to start their own families.
Objective: To ascertain what Ugandan children and adolescents, vertically infected with HIV, felt to be the optimal timing and conditions under which they should be informed of their HIV sero-status, and to document the perceived impact of this information on them and their families.
Methods: We conducted this cross-sectional study between November 2004 and May 2005 following Institutional approval by the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health of Makerere University Medical School, Makerere University Research Committee, Mulago Hospital Ethics committee, Baylor College of Medicine and Uganda National Council for Science and Technology. All HIV infected children, aged between five and 19 years, who had been informed of their diagnosis and were receiving care at the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Clinic (PIDC) at Mulago Hospital, Kampala Uganda were included in the study.
Results: One hundred and eighty seven children, with a mean age of 13.2 (± 2.88) years, were interviewed. Fifty nine percent voiced contentment with the timing of their disclosure.
Children generally advocated disclosure of their status by close relatives, 50% preferring their mothers. Following disclosure, 45% children reported having felt nothing while others reported transient feelings of fear, sadness, anger or confusion. Seventy seven percent children did not divulge their HIV status following disclosure because they all appreciated the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. They advised that all HIV infected children should be told their status by age 10 years. Parents/guardians expressed satisfaction with the results of the disclosure.
Conclusion: They appear to quickly accept their HIV status and tend to handle the diagnosis very well. The benefits of disclosure to HIV infected children outweigh the perceived fears of their parents/guardians and health workers.

AIDS 2010 - XVIII International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WEPE0614

Suggested Citation
"I.Kalyesubula, et al. Optimal timing for disclosure of HIV sero-status to vertically infected children and adolescents in Uganda. : AIDS 2010 - XVIII International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WEPE0614 "