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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2012 May;26(5):281-90. doi: 10.1089/apc.2011.0317.

Stressors and sources of support: the perceptions and experiences of newly diagnosed Latino youth living with HIV.

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Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Little is known of the experience of Latino youth with HIV infection in the United States, especially with respect to stressors and how these youth cope with said stressors. This study reports on a subset (Latino/Hispanic self-identified youth, n=14) of qualitatively interviewed youth (n=30), both in individual interviews and in focus group discussion settings, aware of their HIV diagnosis for 12-24 months (mean: 16.7 months; standard deviation [SD], 4.89) Youth were 16-24 years old (M=21.5 years), female (43%) and males (57%). Youth were recruited from three cities: Chicago, New York, and San Juan (Puerto Rico). Interviews of Latinos (n=14) were reviewed for sources of stressors and support. Seven themes emerged in analyzing stated sources of stressors: (1) initial psychosocial responses to HIV diagnosis, (2) disclosure to family and friends, (3) stigma related to receiving an HIV diagnosis, (4) body image and concerns of the physical changes associated with HIV and antiretroviral medications, (5) taking antiretroviral medications and side effects, (6) the disruption of their future life goals, and (7) reproductive health concerns. Identified sources of support and coping were described including; gaining appreciation for what matters in life, adapting and developing achievable goals, reordering priorities and relying on religion and spiritual beliefs for health outcomes. The information gathered is from individual interviews and from focus group discussions can be used to increase the understanding of this understudied population while improving services to engage and retain these youth in care.

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