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J Urban Health. Dec 2000; 77(4): 723–734.
PMCID: PMC3456764

Reasons given for disclosure of maternal HIV status to children

Daniel J. Pilowsky, MD, MPH,corresponding author1,2 Nancy Sohler, MPH,2 and Ezra Susser, MD, DrPH1,2


The purpose of this investigation was to ascertain the reasons given by mothers diagnosed with AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) for disclosing or not disclosing their HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) status to their children, a dilemma faced by most HIV-infected parents and those who counsel them. We interviewed 29 mothers residing in one of two New York City facilities that provide housing and medical treatment for adults with AIDS. The majority of these mothers do not live with their children, but all had recent face-to-face contact with them. The two reasons most frequently considered important for disclosing to children were that disclosure was the “right thing to do” and the need to make arrangements for children's future in case of maternal death or incapacity. The reason most frequently considered important for not disclosing was maternal concern about discussing death and dying with children. These findings have significant implications for counseling of HIV-positive parents.

Key Words: Child welfare, Children, Disclosure, HIV, Mothers

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Articles from Journal of Urban Health : Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine are provided here courtesy of New York Academy of Medicine


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