Caregiver's HIV disclosure to children 12 years and under:
A review and analysis of the evidence
Provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC) has expanded since 2007 WHO guidelines were established. We conducted a systematic review of PITC in low- and middle-income countries. Peer-reviewed studies were included if they measured pre-post or multi-arm outcomes. Two coders abstracted data using standardized forms. Nineteen studies were included, all from sub-Saharan Africa (N = 15) or Asia (N = 4).
Studies were conducted in clinics for antenatal/family. A systematic review and analysis of the empirical evidence through June 2010 on HIV disclosure to children 12 and under was conducted using methods validated by the Cochrane group. Fifteen articles focusing on caregiver disclosure (255 total) were analyzed using GradePro 3 software.
Results suggest that there is evidence of health and future care planning benefit for HIV+ and healthy children (12 and under) of HIV+ caregivers if the caregiver discloses his/her HIV status to them. Children of the maturity of school age youth (e.g., beginning at 6 years and continuing through 12) can be told of their caregivers' HIV status, while younger children may be informed partially in an age-appropriate manner.