More than one-fourth of HIV-infected parents reported avoiding certain physical interactions, like hugging or kissing, with their children due to a fear of transmitting the disease or of contracting an infection from them, according to an article in the February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Of adults receiving care for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the
Mark A. Schuster, MD, PhD, from RAND Corporation,
The researchers found that 36.1 percent of HIV-infected patients felt at least a little fear and 19 percent felt moderate fear of transmitting HIV to their children. Fourteen percent of parents reported at least a moderate fear and 41.7 percent reported at least a little fear of catching infections from their children. Of participants, 27.9 percent avoided one of four types of interaction with their children a lot, specifically, kissing on the lips (22.2 percent), sharing utensil (17.7 percent), hugging (1.8 percent), and kissing on the cheek (1.3 percent). Nearly 40 percent of parents reported avoiding these interactions at least a little.
The finding that more than one third of parents fear transmitting HIV to their children suggests that more work needs to be done to reassure parents about the limited transmissibility of HIV, the authors write. Although it is encouraging that parents rarely withheld interactions that did not involve the potential exchange of saliva, it is concerning that more than one quarter of parents restricted interactions a lot because of fears of contagion.
This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development,