Pregnancy Rates Higher in HIV Infected Teens
Teens who are HIV positive have higher pregnancy rates than the general teen population, according to a new study.
These trends published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association highlight that teens who acquire HIV through risky behavior or more likely to become pregnant, get pregnant more than once and have pregnancy complications.
The study, conducted by researchers at John Hopkins University looked at the medical records of 180 HIV infected female teens and examined their medical history over the course of 12 years. The purpose of the study was to examine the pregnancy rates of teens infected with HIV by unsafe sex or injectable drug use, compared to that of teens who acquired HIV by birth and uninfected teens.
Both groups of HIV infected teens have higher pregnancy rates than the general teen population. However, behaviorally infected teens greatly surpass by a rate 7 times that of the general population. Nearly 75 percent of the behaviorally infected HIV teens in study had a least one pregnancy, compared to 21.5 percent of birth acquired HIV teens. Furthermore, the behaviorally infected teens were more likely to become pregnant more than once.
This study raises concerns that HIV infected teens are not practicing safe sex and are engaging in risky behaviors at a much higher rate that of uninfected teens. Teens who acquired HIV via birth do appear to take more measures to prevent pregnancy and choose more often to abort their pregnancy (41 percent versus 10 percent) than that of behaviorally infected teens. However, this study reveals that they still do partake in more risky behaviors than their uninfected peers.
The researchers agree that these findings are alarming as these teens are not only endangering their sexual partners, but placing themselves and their fetuses in at a very high health risk. According to the results of the study, the HIV infected teens have higher rates of pregnancy complications including premature births and pregnancy losses that that of healthy teens.
This research study raises some valid concerns that not enough is being done to prevent pregnancies and encourage safe sex in the HIV infected teen population.