Program Helps Teenage Kids of HIV Patients

Study: Counseling helps them do better as young adults

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TUESDAY, Aug. 3, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Coping programs for teenage children of HIV-infected parents can help those adolescents become productive young adults.

That heartening news comes from a University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) study in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"By buffering teenagers when their parents are ill or dying, we help teens function better as young adults," researcher Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, said in a prepared statement.

"The children in our study were less likely to drop out of school, have babies as teens, or require welfare or unemployment payments. This translates into direct savings for every taxpayer," Rotheram-Borus said.

The study included 400 teenage children of 300 HIV-infected adults. Half the families were assigned to the coping skills program while the other half received more general support services.

Teens in the coping program were taught cognitive and behavioral skills to help them deal with their parents' illness.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has information about coping with an HIV diagnosis.

SOURCE: University of California at Los Angeles, news release, Aug. 2, 2004

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