259441 “Someone needs to carry on the legacy of my family”: Perceptions of Childbearing and Parenting among Young Adults with Perinatally-Acquired HIV

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM

Cynthia Fair, LCSW, DrPH , Human Service Studies, Elon University, Elon, NC
Jamie Albright , Human Service Studies, Elon University, Elon, NC
Background: Individuals with perinatally-acquired HIV are reaching reproductive age, many of whom will eventually have children. To date most public health efforts have focused on pregnancy and secondary transmission prevention. The perspectives of young adults with perinatally-acquired HIV (YPHIV) on parenthood are not well understood. This project explored the perceptions of YPHIV regarding their childbearing motivations as well as potential rewards/challenges of parenting.

Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted with a cross-sectional sample of 33 YPHIV recruited from two pediatric infectious disease clinics in the southeast U.S. The mean age of participants was 20.5 (range 15-30 years). The majority of participants were African-American (n=29, 87.8%) and female (n=23, 69.7%). Beliefs regarding childbearing and parenting were explored. Interviews were transcribed and coded for emergent themes.

Results: The primary childbearing motivations included the desire to experience parenthood, a wish to leave a legacy, and the chance to offer and receive unconditional love from a child. Several participants indicated that parental loss intensified their desire to have children, but it also further complicated their feelings. Challenges included concerns over the cost of raising a child and future disclosure of their HIV status to a child.

Conclusions: YPHIV have a unique set of stressors related to their disease status and family of origin which influence their childbearing motivations and views on parenting. A primary task of young adulthood is establishing intimate relationships and creating a family. Specific interventions are needed to promote healthy development across the lifespan among the third generation of HIV-affected families.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. List the unique stressors faced by YPHIV as they consider parenthood. 2. Describe the childbearing motivations, challenges, and rewards of YPHIV. 3. Identify the potential developmental needs of the second generation of parents living with HIV.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in the field of pediatric HIV since 1990 as a social worker and researcher.
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.

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