Risk Acts, Health Care, and Medical Adherence among HIV+ Youths in Care over Time

Mary Jane Rotheram-Borus, Debra A. Murphy, Christy L. Coleman, Michael Kennedy, Helen M. Reid, Timothy R. Cline, Jeffrey M. Birnbaum, Donna Futterman, Linda Levin, Arlene Schneir, Brenda Chabon, Zane O'Keefe, Michelle Kipke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The level and consistency of HIV-related sexual and substance-use risk acts, health status, and medical adherence were examined among 102 HIV+ youths aged 14 to 23 years (27% African American, 33% Latino). Over their lifetime, youths engaged in unprotected sexual acts with multiple partners (M = 284; Median = 44; consistent condom protection, 5%) and substance use (21% injecting drug use; 68% hard drugs). When current risk behaviors were assessed twice over two consecutive 3-month periods, almost one third had been sexually abstinent. Among youths who were currently sexually active, most had multiple sexual partners (M = 5.7, Time 1; 4.9, Time 2) and used condoms (72-77% sexual acts protected); most of the youths (63-64%) always used condoms. Use of alcohol (63%), marijuana (41%), hard drugs (36%), and injecting drugs (12%) was substantial. Youths were relatively healthy (M T cells = 521.4; 14% T cells < 200; 1.9 diseases and 3.7 physical symptoms in the previous 3 months); they attended about one third of their medical appointments. While all youths were linked to adolescent HIV programs, unhealthy behavior and risk acts remained common. More effective and intensive intervention appears required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • Adolescents
  • HIV
  • Health adherence
  • Multiple problem behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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