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AIDS. 2005 Sep 23;19(14):1501-8.

Evaluation of a peer support group therapy for HIV-infected adolescents.

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Unité d'Immunologie-hématologie pédiatrique, Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, 149 rue de Sèvres, 75743 Paris cedex 15, France.



To assess the effects of a peer support group therapy on HIV-infected adolescents.


A prospective study of a cohort of HIV-infected adolescents participating or not participating in a psychodynamic oriented, emotional support group.


From a group of 30 perinatally HIV-infected adolescents who attended an outpatient clinic, 10 agreed to participate in the peer support group (group 1), 10 declined (group 2) and 10 others who lived too far from the clinic were not invited to participate (group 3). The three groups were compared at baseline and 2 years later using the outcome measures: perceived illness experience scale, perceived treatment inventory, self-esteem inventory.


At baseline, the three groups had similar characteristics overall. The adolescents' self-esteem was in the normal range. After 2 years, worries about illness had decreased in group 1, whereas the scores had increased or remained the same for the other adolescents (P = 0.026). The adolescents in group 1 had less negative perception of treatment at 2 years than those in groups 2 and 3 (P = 0.030). After intervention, the percentage of adolescents with an undetectable viral load had increased in group 1 from 30 to 80% (P = 0.063) but was unchanged in groups 2 and 3. Considering the three groups altogether, the decrease in the viral load correlated with improvement of the perceived treatment inventory (Spearman R = 0.482 P = 0.015).


: This pilot study suggests that a peer support group intervention is associated with an improvement in adolescents' emotional well being, and that this can have a positive influence on medical outcomes.

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