United States: Children of HIV-Infected Parents: Custody Status in a Nationally Representative Sample
September 28, 2007
In the current study, the authors determined the rates and predictors of custody status for children of HIV-infected parents in the United States.
Data from interviews of 538 parents with 1,017 children (ages 0-17) from a nationally representative sample of HIV-positive adults receiving health care were used in the study. Outcomes were collected at two survey waves and included child custody status and who, other than the parent with HIV, had custody of the child. Child custody was categorized as (1) in custody of HIV-infected parent at both survey waves, (2) infected parent had custody at first wave but not at second, (3) not in custody of infected parent at either survey wave, and (4) infected parent gained custody between survey waves. Potential custodians included (1) other biological parent, (2) state, foster or adoptive parent, (3) grandparent, and (4) non-biological parent, relative, friend or other. Outcomes were modeled using multinomial logistic regression.
Forty-seven percent of the children were in the custody of their HIV-infected parent at both survey waves, 4 percent were in the parent's custody at the first but not second wave, 42 percent were not in custody at either wave, and 7 percent of HIV-infected gained custody between survey waves. According to parents, drug use (62 percent) and financial hardship (27 percent) were cited as reasons for losing custody. Children who were less likely to be in their parent's custody at either survey wave included those with HIV-infected fathers, older parents, parents living without other adults, parents with low CD4 counts, drug-using parents, and parents with more than or equal to 1 hospital stay.
"More than half of the children were not in custody of their HIV-infected parent at some time during the study period," the authors concluded. "Pediatricians and others taking care of children with HIV-infected parents may be able to offer counseling or referrals to assist parents with child custody issues."
09.2007; Vol. 120; No. 3: P. e494-e503; Burton O. Cowgill, M.P.H.; Megan K. Beckett, Ph.D.; Rosalie Corona, Ph.D.; Marc N. Elliott, Ph.D.; Annie J. Zhou, M.S.; Mark A. Schuster, M.D., Ph.D.
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.