The introduction of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) to children with perinatally acquired HIV has prolonged their lifespan to adolescence and beyond. These HIV positive adolescents on care face challenges as they undertake their treatment which this study aimed to determine. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive study of challenges faced by adolescents between the ages 10 and 19 years on routine follow up at the HIV Clinic of Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) over a period of six months. Ethical approval was obtained from the Health Research Ethical Committee (HREC) of JUTH and permission was also obtained from the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) center JUTH. Data obtained was entered into Epi Info version 7.2 and analyzed. Among the 147 subjects that were recruited, 56 (38%) were males, while females were 91(62%), M: F ratio of 1: 1.6. Of this, most were single (99%). Among the subjects, 81 (55%) were orphans, of which 53 (65%) were single orphan. Of the total patients studied, 68% lived with one or both parents, while 26% stayed with relatives and 5% lived in orphanages. Most were in school 137 (96%) and 85 (59%) were aware of their diagnosis. Discrimination was reported among 19 (13%) subjects by pupils/students, teachers, friends and/or family members, while 31 (21%) had thought of committing suicide. Among the subjects, 100 (70%) have considered stopping medication. HIV positive adolescents in our study suffer several challenges which include being orphans, discrimination and suicidal ideations. These challenges could interfere with retention in care and compliance with their antiretroviral drugs.
Key words: Adolescents, HIV, orphaned child, social discrimination, suicidal ideation.
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