245568 Promoting healthy families: Advice from HIV+ parents on how to talk about prevention

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:50 PM

Laura Edwards, BA , Department of Community Health, College of Medicine, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
Janet Reis, PhD , College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Kathleen Weber, RN , The CORE Center at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Hektoen Institute of Medicine, Chicago, IL
BACKGROUND: Parents can play a critical role in HIV prevention efforts by using effective parenting practices and communicating their values and expectations. Despite the protective role of parent-child communication on adolescent risk behavior, much remains unknown about the strategies parents use to communicate with adolescents. This is particularly true for youth in families already affected by HIV, who are often considered among the highest risk for contracting HIV themselves. OBJECTIVE: To investigate how HIV+ talk about HIV prevention with adolescents, including what they deem effective versus less effective communication. METHODS: Mothers and fathers living with HIV were recruited through HIV service organizations in the Midwest. Parents underwent a semi-structured interview and filled out a questionnaire to assess the strategies they used to discuss HIV prevention with their 10-18 year old children. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by two coders for recurring themes. RESULTS: 90 parents reported on their communication strategies. Collectively, these parents cared for 317 children. Strategies viewed as effective included enlisting support, using an effective talking style (open, supportive, relaxed), and instilling values and expectations. Strategies viewed as ineffective included using a maladaptive talking style (being harsh or sugar-coating reality), avoiding communication, and giving low quality information. CONCLUSIONS: Parents reported frequent communication about HIV prevention with adolescents. Parents' perceived effectiveness of those strategies overlapped considerably with what current health behavior research deems effective parent-adolescent communication. Communication programs aimed at increasing parent-adolescent communication could easily be tailored to meet the needs of families affected by HIV.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe what characteristics parents living with HIV/AIDS feel are important to effective parent-adolescent communication.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently completing my PhD in Community Health on HIV prevention in families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.