Presentations in this symposium address the intersection of families and HIV, with an emphasis on mitigating HIV risk. The symposium fits nicely with the conference theme of, “Using Prevention Science to Promote Health Equity and Improve Well-being,” through its focus on two populations who are disproportionately burdened by HIV: African Americans and black South Africans. The papers presented offer a particular fit with the theme of Health Equity in HIV/AIDS Prevention as they include examination of contextual issues influencing youth risk, as well as preliminary outcomes of an HIV prevention intervention developed for early adolescents whose mothers are living with HIV (MLH). The symposium includes scholars at varying points in their career trajectory and from three institutions, each situated within communities particularly impacted by HIV.
The first paper, “Sexual Risk among Black South African Youth: The Role of Parenting and Community Factors,” is guided by ecological systems theory and utilized structural equation modeling. Among this primarily Xhosa-speaking sample, results demonstrated that neighborhood stressors impact youth sexual risk through compromised parenting. Further, a second contextual factor, mothers’ perceived social support, had a direct, positive association with parenting quality. Family-based HIV prevention interventions, an important tool in this high risk environment, should consider these contextual factors when targeting parenting practices.
The second paper, “Family Processes and Child Outcomes in the Context of HIV infection: The Role of Maternal Disclosure Self-Efficacy,” focuses on another group of youth who, based on genetic and environmental factors, are vulnerable to HIV infection: children of MLH. Results suggest that enhancing mothers’ self-efficacy to disclose her HIV status to children may be protective for family and child functioning.
The final paper, “Adapting an HIV Prevention Program for Families Affected by Maternal HIV Infection,” follows from the first two. This presentation will describe the adaptation process applied to an existing evidence-based HIV prevention intervention for use with MLH and their adolescent children. We highlight findings from each phase of this strengths-based adaptation, including qualitative formative work and a pilot feasibility evaluation of the newly formed program.
At the conclusion of the presentations, the discussant will summarize findings across studies and provide recommendations for future research.