Research Article: Adolescents Living with HIV: An Indian Profile

Date Published: June 24, 2012

Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Author(s): Sravya Kurapati, Madhu Vajpayee, Meenakshi Raina, Sreenivas Vishnubhatla.


Purpose. Although there have been studies on the presence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) among the adult and even pediatric population, the adolescent population has been neglected. The main objective of this study was to understand and describe the profile of adolescents accessing the Integrated Counseling and Testing Centre (ICTC) at a tertiary healthcare centre in north India. This was a retrospective analysis of the data collected where, in addition to the analysis of the presence of HIV among the target population, a comparative analysis of HIV-positive and negative individuals was also carried out. Methods. Counselors at the ICTC of All India Institute of Medical Sciences recorded responses of the patients, and pre- and posttest counseling was performed appropriately. Also, HIV testing was performed using rapid tests (EIA) and ELISA. Both pre- and posttest counseling was performed for most of the patients. Also, the data collected from 2005 to May, 2011 was then retrospectively analyzed using various statistical tests, such as, Chi-square test and odds ratios. Results. Out of 979, 84 tested HIV positive. Discrimination at multiple levels was observed.The 10–14 years age group was 0.56 times more likely to be HIV positive than 15–19 year old. HIV serostatus was strongly associated with risk behavior (P = 0.003) with heterosexual transmission being the most common. Conclusion. These findings highlight the profile of adolescents in India and their equation with HIV on demographic and psychosocial levels.

Partial Text

An enormous section of the world’s population, more than 1.75 billion, is young and aged between 10 and 24 years, making every fifth person in the world an adolescent [1]. Owing to the transitional nature of this age group, they are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. While HIV prevalence is reducing significantly in many parts of the industrialized world, its decline in the third world countries has been somewhat sporadic, especially in the infective adolescent population. In young countries like India where more than 22.8% [2] of its population is between 10 to 19 years, HIV can be a formidable threat both in terms of incidence and prevalence. Despite the prominence of young adults in the HIV epidemic, prevention research regarding adolescents has been scant. Adolescence is the second decade of life (10–19 years) and is a period of both physical as well as psychological development [3]. This is a phase of experimentation and risk that includes early sexual debut, sexual coercion and violence, trafficking, and substance abuse. Along with these, other factors such as the lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS, inaccessibility to healthcare services and commodities, lack of education and life skills, and early marriage have increased their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS [4]. Since adolescents comprise a major part of reproductive group, they are likely to play a significant role in determining the future growth pattern of India’s population and economy. Thus, it is crucial that investment in terms of finances, research, and developmental policies be done to improve their well being.

This was a retrospective study conducted to analyze the data collected at the ICTC at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMSs), a tertiary healthcare centre and National HIV Reference Centre. The data was collected for a period of six years and 4 months from 2005 to May, 2011 and was analyzed in 2012.

Ironically, very little work has been done to comprehend the nature of the epidemic in Asia, especially in India which harbors the third highest HIV-affected population in the world. Although the government of India conducts HIV Sentinel Survey annually to monitor outcomes and impacts of national efforts and monitor trends in HIV prevalence amongst the major population groups [11], not much information has been gathered about the adolescent population specifically. Through this retrospective study we have tried to bring to the foreground, the prevailing profile of adolescents living with HIV in India.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.