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AIDS Educ Prev. 2001 Feb;13(1):42-54.

Variation in health and risk behavior among youth living with HIV.

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University of California, Los Angeles 90024, USA.


Lifetime and current health practices and risk behaviors were examined among 350 youth living with HIV (YLH) aged 14-23 years from four AIDS epicenters (72.6% male; 26.2% African American, 36.9% Latino). YLH were relatively healthy (M CD4 cells = 499), had used substantial health care and were satisfied with the care. YLH's sexual and substance-use histories indicated substantial HIV related risk acts: the median number of lifetime partners was 25 with only 8% using condoms consistently; 14.9% had injected drugs, and 61.2% had used hard drugs. Compared with females, males had more lifetime and recent sexual partners and had used more drugs. Youth who were recently sexually active (81.3%) had multiple partners. Most of the sexually active YLH used condoms consistently (81.6%). YLH who were symptomatic or had an AIDS diagnosis were likely to have recently had more seropositive sexual partners than the asymptomatic youth. Youth disclosed their serostatus to about half of their sexual partners (53.9%). YLH with AIDS used fewer hard drugs than those without an AIDS diagnosis. Health and risk behaviors of the YLH varied significantly based on their disease stage, gender, and ethnicity, suggesting the need for tailoring interventions for subgroups of YLH.

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