To investigate the patterns of disclosure and perceptions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status in a group of HIV-infected elementary school—age children.
A referred care university hospital center.
All HIV-infected children born before August 31, 1985, and scheduled for ambulatory follow-up between 1984 and 1993 were eligible for the study. A total of 35 HIV-infected (21 asymptomatic and 14 symptomatic) elementary school—age children (aged 5-10 years) were examined between 1990 and 1993.
Main Outcome Measures:
Semistructured qualitative interviews were used, 1 with the children and 1 with their parents or caregivers. In addition, 3 drawings per child were also analyzed.
Partial disclosure was observed in 14 (40%) of the children, and full disclosure of the diagnosis of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was given to 6 (17%) of the children. Secrecy regarding serostatus was the strategy used by 15 (43%) of the parents or caregivers involving either complete nondisclosure (n=8) or deception by means of attributing the symptoms to another condition, medical or other (n=7). Perceived health status and clinical status differed for 11 (31%) of the children. Eight children did not identify any illness causality, and most of the others gave prelogical or concrete-logical explanations. Few children were aware of their parent's infection or disease.
Human immunodeficiency virus—infected elementary school—age children were exposed to various disclosure patterns regarding their HIV infection or disease, and most children (26/35 [74%]) reported stressful experiences due to HIV regardless of the disclosure patterns.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:978-985