Mental health of children affected by HIV comparable to children with HIV

  • July 21, 2014

Children affected by HIV experience anxiety and depression similar to children with HIV, which researchers said is indicates a need for policy and programmatic responses, according to study findings in Pediatrics.

Theresa Betancourt, ScD, MA, of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues assessed mental health, risk and protective factors among 683 children, aged 10 to 17 years, with different levels of HIV exposure. Children were assigned to groups depending on HIV exposure: HIV-positive (n=218); HIV-affected (n=228); and HIV-unaffected (n=237). Children who had a caregiver with HIV or had a parent die as a result of AIDS complications were considered HIV-affected. The study was conducted in two districts in Rwanda between March 2012 and December 2012.

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