Parents with human immunodeficiency virus infection: Perceptions of their children's emotional needs

V. N. Niebuhr, J. R. Hughes, R. B. Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objective. To investigate the likelihood of patients who have human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) being parents and to identify concerns of these parents about their children. Design. A survey was conducted of parental status, demographics, perceptions of social/emotional needs of self and one's children. Responses were analyzed for demographic differences. Participants. A total of 242 patients from the university HIV/AIDS clinics completed the survey. Main outcome measures. Parental status, number, and ages of children, parental concerns about their children related to their own HIV/AIDS. Results. Nearly one third (31.8%) of the sample of HIV/AIDS patients were parents, and three fourths (76%) of the female patients were mothers. Slightly more than one third of these were married, and these were not predominantly families who also had infected children. The percentage of women in the parent subsample (40.8%) was higher than the percentage of women in the overall patient sample (16.7%). Only half of the parents reported that their children >4 years of age knew of their diagnosis. Two thirds of the parents reported they believed their children did not need to talk to someone about their parent's health, and nearly half of the parents reported that they did not need help dealing with their children concerning issues related to AIDS. Conclusion. The percentage of HIV/AIDS patients who are parents is high, and parental status and emotional needs of parents and their children will likely become an increasingly important issue. Many questions are raised by our findings. Should we be concerned that many parents have been unable to talk to their children about their own health? Should we help parents acknowledge that their children may need some outside help to cope?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-426
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • children's emotions
  • human immunodeficiency virus
  • parents with HIV/AIDS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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