Publication Date



Reproductive Female Child Health


INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to describe the sexual and reproductive goals of female adolescents with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in an urban cohort and decipher if they vary depending on the mode of HIV acquisition.

METHODS: We conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 25 Black and/or Hispanic/Latinx female adolescents living with HIV (14 perinatally, 11 behaviourally acquired) aged 17-25 years who have access to care and antiretroviral therapy at an urban public hospitals (NYC, NY). Interviews were transcribed, coded and analysed using thematic analysis.

RESULTS: Interviews demonstrated that access to antiretroviral therapy and HIV disclosure to a sexual partner were critical aspects of sexual health for the majority of participants. Persons with perinatal HIV defined motherhood as a source of self-validation and were confident that antiretroviral therapy prevents HIV transmission. Persons with behaviourally acquired HIV viewed their status as an insurmountable barrier that will prevent them from attaining sexual intimacy with a partner and expressed persistent concerns about HIV transmission during pregnancy despite reassurance from medical providers.

CONCLUSION: Sexual and reproductive perspectives of adolescents/young women living with HIV are multifactorial, highly stigmatized, and likely influenced by the mode of HIV acquisition. This population may benefit from patient-centred care models, including sexual health counselling that addresses sexual agency, intimacy, parenting and transmission risk reduction.


adolescents, family planning, HIV, pregnancy, qualitative research, reproductive health, sexual health



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