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NCJ Number: 136708 Find in a Library
Title: Runaway and Street Youth at Risk for HIV Infection: Legal and Ethical Issues in Access to Care
Journal: Journal of Adolescent Health  Volume:12  Issue:7  Dated:special issue (November 1991)  Pages:504-510
Author(s): A English
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 7
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Significant numbers of runaway and street youth at risk for HIV are physically, socially, and psychologically vulnerable and need access to health care and related services, but legal and ethical concerns of consent and confidentiality may limit their access.
Abstract: Legal and ethical questions related to HIV testing and treatment of adolescents present difficult dilemmas for health care professionals. Ethical problems can be especially acute because of limited social supports available to runaway and street youth. In providing homeless youth with services such as HIV testing and treatment for HIV infection, the balance of risks and benefits must be carefully examined in light of the particular social and psychological circumstances of each youth. Agencies providing HIV-related services to runaway and street youth need to develop policies and protocols to ensure consideration of appropriate legal and ethical factors. In many States, the law allows some minors to consent to HIV testing and treatment and protects the confidentiality of HIV-related information. Appropriate pretest and posttest counseling and followup for youth at risk of infection are essential. Limited access to HIV treatment for youth testing positive raises serious ethical concerns. Access to comprehensive treatment is currently limited by a lack of adequate financing, despite a patchwork of numerous public funding sources that provide some coverage for treating HIV and AIDS. Research studies and clinical trials are critical elements in planning and delivering HIV-related services to adolescents, but such research must pay careful attention to legal and ethical considerations. 44 references
Main Term(s): Adolescents with AIDS
Index Term(s): Adolescents at risk; AIDS/HIV testing policies; Homeless children; Juvenile health services; Juvenile records confidentiality; Runaways
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