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Parental attitudes towards children with perinatal HIV/AIDS

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Schuenke, Olivia; Lee, Houa
Wolfgram, Susan
Aids; Childcare; HIV; Children; HIV (Viruses)--Social aspects; Parents--Attitudes; Child care; AIDS (Disease)in children--Social aspects
Living with HIV/AIDS is a unique problem because people have to deal not only with the virus itself but also with reactions from peers within their environment (Macek & Matkovic, 2005). The participants in the current study were 16 parents (15 female and one male) at a Midwestern university child and family study center. The purpose of our study was to promote acceptance and inclusion towards people with HIV/AIDS. This nonrandom pilot study investigated parental attitudes about children having contact in a school setting with a child who has perinatal HIV/AIDS. Informed by literature and Ecological Theory, we hypothesized that this sample of parents of school-aged children would be overall more accepting towards persons with perinatal HIV/AIDS given their higher education levels accessing a university child and family study center where many parents are faculty at the university or professionals in the community. We statistically analyzed our survey data using frequencies, mean comparisons, and a reliability analysis. Our findings supported our hypothesis. Implications for practitioners include starting HIV/AIDS education early in the school environments, ensuring maximum safety during interaction between children both with and without HIV/AIDS, providing easily understood general education about perinatal HIV/AIDS, and avoiding discrimination against children or families who have family members with HIV/AIDS. We would recommend that future researchers investigate the attitudes of teachers, children, and parents with varying education levels towards the virus to foster an inclusive environment for all children.
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