Comparative Effectiveness of Pediatric HIV Disclosure Interventions in Uganda

Investigator: Rachel King, PhD, MPH
Sponsor: Boston Children's Hospital

Location(s): Uganda


At the end of 2009, there were an estimated 2.1 million children < 15 years living with HIV, with almost 90% residing in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In Uganda alone there are an estimated 150,000 HIV-infected children. Although disclosing to a child that he or she is infected with HIV is an important and integral part of providing comprehensive HIV medical care, studies conducted in SSA have indicated that only 2% to 37.8% of HIV-infected children < 15 years know their HIV status. Studies by the investigators' team and others have revealed a high demand by both caregivers and children for health provider-facilitated communication about HIV and disclosure to HIV-infected children. In Uganda despite the rapid expansion of HIV services for children, very few health providers receive formal training in how to support disclosure of an HIV diagnosis to an infected child. Despite the existence of international and national recommendations for disclosure there are no tested models for supporting caregivers and HIV-infected children in SSA through the process of disclosure.

This study proposes to test the effectiveness of an innovative cognitive-behavioural intervention designed to support developmentally appropriate disclosure to HIV-infected children by their caregiver. The proposed intervention builds on the investigators' team's prior research is informed by a cognitive behavioral perspective, as well as the Disclosure Processes Model. The investigators will also adapt components of a multi-faceted program for caregivers of HIV-infected children, developed by members of the investigators' team with funding support from the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Specific aims:

  1. To determine the effectiveness of a cognitive-behavior intervention for increasing disclosure of children's HIV diagnosis by caregivers to their HIV-infected children age 7-12 years old in Uganda.
  2. To determine the effect of disclosure on immediate and longer-term caregiver and child mental health, and child behavioral and clinical outcomes, and whether the intervention modifies these effects
  3. To assess the incremental cost, health impact, and cost-effectiveness of the intervention