Young people who acquired HIV from their mothers need more support to be parents themselves, according to a new report.
Researchers from Royal Holloway University and London’s St Mary’s Hospital interviewed young people aged between 18 and 23 who wanted to start a family of their own.
When asked, the participants said they were concerned about revealing their positive status to their children, and some also raised worries about transmitting HIV onwards to their child.
The team also identified that young people were worried about telling their partner their HIV status, according to lead author, Dr Michael Evangeli from Royal Holloway.
He said: “It is clear that the worry to tell partners becomes even more acute when the idea of having children is brought up. It is essential that we come up with strategies to help young people communicate clearly with their partners about parenting and HIV.
“Now that children born with HIV are surviving to adulthood, parenting is an urgent issue that needs to be discussed for the well-being of young people with HIV, their partners and children.”
The team has made a number of recommendations in the study for health care professionals.
Dr Evangeli also believes the findings could be applied in sub-Saharan Africa, where there are two million people aged 10-19, many of whom have been living with HIV since birth.
He added: “For many of these young people, becoming parents is a very important part of their culture. Indeed, many of the African participants in our study mentioned the importance of culture in their decisions about having children.”