HIV Disclosure in Children in This Millenium – Should It still be an Issue?

Main Article Content

A. U. Eneh
R. O. Ugwu
N. I. Paul


Background: As more children with HIV survive into adolescence and adulthood, one of the most difficult issues that families with HIV-infected children face is disclosure of their children’s status to them.

Objective: To explore factors associated with disclosure or none disclosure and whether disclosure is beneficial or not.

Methods: The mothers of HIV positive children who brought their children aged 5-18 years to the Paediatric Infectious Disease Clinic of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital from January to December 2015 were interviewed using a structured investigator administered questionnaire.

Results: Of the 100 caregivers interviewed, 26.0% have disclosed the HIV status to the children. The mean age at disclosure was 14.42 ± 2.45 years. Care givers that have disclosed were significantly older (45.58±8.32 years vs 38.18±9.2 years; p = .0002). The mean age of children whose status have been disclosed was significantly higher than those who were yet to be aware of their status (14.42±2.45years vs 10.97±3.11 years; p = 0.00001). There was no significant difference in the mode of transmission and orphan status between the two groups. Disclosure was significantly more among children who were diagnosed between 5-10 years of age (14; 53.8%) (p=0.013), have taken antiretroviral drugs for over 24 months (22; 84.6%) (p= 0.003) and had at least one HIV-infected sibling (21; 80.8%) (p=0.00001). Among 13 (50.0%) whose status have been disclosed and 59 (79.7%) whose status had not been disclosed, the caregiver had disclosed the child’s status to others (p= 0.004). The major reason for disclosing was because the child was either asking questions on why he/she is taking drugs or he/she is refusing to take drugs (15; 57.7%) respectively. Only 6 (23.1%) caregivers disclosed because they felt the child has a right to know. Most difficult question asked by the children during disclosure was how they got the HIV (22; 84.6%). Reasons given for non-disclosure included fear of disclosure to others (74; 100%), child too young to understand (70; 94.5%) and fear of impact on child’s emotional health (42; 56.7%). Majority 20 (76.9%) of the care givers felt relieved after disclosure. Twenty-four (92.3%) caregivers felt disclosure had improved child’s adherence to antiretroviral therapy and determination to survive (22; 84.6%).

Conclusion: Disclosure is beneficial to both the child and caregiver. Healthcare providers should encourage caregivers to disclose HIV status to their children as soon as possible.

HIV disclosure, children, adolescent, benefits, issues.

Article Details

How to Cite
U. Eneh, A., O. Ugwu, R., & I. Paul, N. (2020). HIV Disclosure in Children in This Millenium – Should It still be an Issue?. Advances in Research, 20(5), 1-11.
Original Research Article


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