OBJECTIVE: To describe the prevalence and predictors of the transmission-related behaviors of adolescents with HIV acquired perinatally (perinatal) or through risky behaviors (behavioral).
METHODS: HIV-positive adolescents (n = 166) aged 13-21, receiving care in 3 US cities, reported sexual behaviors, drug use, and psychosocial and demographic characteristics. HIV-related data were abstracted from medical records.
RESULTS: Of 105 sexually experienced adolescents reporting risk history (42 perinatal, 63 behavioral), 49 had engaged in unprotected sex since learning their diagnosis (12 perinatal, 37 behavioral). Of sexually experienced girls, 19 had been pregnant (5 of 24 perinatal, 14 of 31 behavioral). Risk information was provided for 115 of 132 recent sex partners, 61 of whom had unprotected sex with study participants (10 with 8 perinatal participants; 51 with 33 behavioral participants). Recent unprotected sex was associated with sexual abuse during adolescence (adjusted odds ratio = 9.61, 95% CI: 1.07 to 86.12) and greater HIV knowledge (adjusted odds ratio = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.00 to 1.66) when transmission category, age, and sexual orientation were controlled.
CONCLUSIONS: To limit HIV transmission and prevent unplanned pregnancies, developmentally appropriate risk-reduction interventions, and screening and treatment referral for sexual abuse, must be integrated into the care of both perinatally and behaviorally HIV-infected adolescents.