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HIV-positive young people at high risk of psychiatric disorders

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What is the rate of psychiatric and substance abuse disorders in HIV-positive young people and are these disorders associated with HIV status?


Young people, aged between 9 and 16 years with perinatal exposure to HIV, recruited from medical centres providing family-focused care to HIV-affected families. 340 care givers and young person pairs, 206 HIV-positive and 134 HIV-negative young people were included (51% female, 54% African Americans and mean age 12.2 years). Among the care givers 87% were female, 46% were HIV positive and 50% were the biological parents.


Four medical centres in New York, USA; dates are not reported.


Data were obtained from the baseline interview of the Child and Adolescent Self-Awareness and Health (CASAH) project, a large US longitudinal study of psychosocial determinants of behaviour in HIV-infected and HIV-exposed youths. Young people and their care givers were interviewed separately but simultaneously in two interviews over a 4-week period. The first interview included a psychiatric assessment, the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children, and care givers and young people were asked about the presence or absence of symptoms in the previous year. The completion rate for …

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  • Source of funding Supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health.


  • Competing interests None.

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