Parent perspectives on sexual and reproductive health with internationally adopted youth living with HIV

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AIDS care




HIV; International adoption; sexual reproductive health


Evidence suggests an increasing number of US families are adopting internationally born children with HIV (IACH). Little is known about the experiences of adoptive parents, particularly how they help children navigate adolescence. Many adopted children may have additional needs as they mature into adolescence. Forty-four parents of 51 IACH were recruited from three pediatric infectious disease clinics and social media sites. The majority identified as white ( = 43), Christian ( = 38), and female ( = 43). Mean age of adoptees was 10.1 years (range 3-19, 33 females, 25 from African countries, and Russia, Ukraine, China, Haiti, Columbia, Estonia). Participants completed semi-structured audio-recorded interviews focused on experienced and potential challenges as their child matures. Interviews were coded for emergent themes. Findings identified universal concerns about sexuality. Some parents had not yet discussed sex with their child due to age/level of maturity. Others stated they had "the talk" and some emphasized the importance of abstinence before marriage while others highlighted the importance of comprehensive sex education and open communication. Finally, parents acknowledged that HIV was a manageable illness and hoped their children lived long healthy lives. Medical and mental health clinicians can support families as their child transitions into adolescence.


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