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J Adolesc Health. 1991 Nov;12(7):504-10.

Runaway and street youth at risk for HIV infection: legal and ethical issues in access to care.

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Adolescent Health Care Project, National Center for Youth Law, San Francisco, CA 94104.


Significant numbers of runaway and street youth are at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. These youth are physically, socially, and psychologically vulnerable and need access to health care and related services. Legal and ethical concerns of consent and confidentiality may limit their access, although in many states the law allows some minors to consent to HIV testing and treatment and protects confidentiality of HIV-related information. Appropriate pretest and posttest counseling and follow-up for youth at risk of infection are essential. Limited access to HIV treatment for youth testing positive raises serious ethical concerns. Access to comprehensive treatment is currently limited by lack of adequate financing, despite a patchwork of numerous public funding sources providing some coverage for treatment of HIV and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Research studies and clinical trials are critical elements in the planning and delivery of HIV-related services to adolescents, but require consideration of special ethical and legal concerns.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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