Characteristics and evolution of family structure of children born to HIV infected mothers

N. Principi, M. Fontana, P. Marchisio, C. Giaquinto, A. Plebani, M. Demartino, C. Fundarò, M. Duse, G. Castelli Gattinara, G. Zuccotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIV infection raises unique social problems in childhood, due to the disease of the biologic mother and often also in the father, and to frequent association of infection with drug abuse and social and economical disadvantages. Parents' death due to AIDS has been estimated to heavily increase the orphan burden both in developed and in developing countries. This research investigated changes in the continuing presences of the mother and the father in the family unit for children born to HIV infected mothers and evaluated differences between HIV infected and HIV non-infected children. Twenty-one Italian Centers caring for children born to HIV infected mothers retrieved information from existing medical records and collected data for 978 children. At the last observation 22.4% of the children had lost the mother, 39.9% had father; only 56% lived both parents. The probability for a child born to a HIV infected mother to have both parents alive and living with him/her decreases with time, being only 46% at the age of five, without any statistically significant difference between HIV infected and seroreveried children, Intravenous drug abuse at the time of child's birth in HIV infected parents negatively affected the chances of both parents to continue to be present with the child. No statistically significant differences were demonstrated between never orprevious drug abusers. The data suggest that all children born to HIV infected mothers need specific types of social support, irrespective of their infections status, and that parents' absence rapidly becomes a major problem in the first years of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalRivista Italiana di Pediatria
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
  • AIDS
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Infezione da hiv
  • Infezione perinatale
  • Perinatal infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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