Conclusion

Each of the factors related to the social climate into which this population was born, the social climate in which they are living and each individual's family story affect the ways in which children, teens and young adults perinatally infected with HIV see themselves, their sexuality and their mortality.

If no one has ever travelled on this road before you, and you are caught in the context of a health condition in which 'secrecy' has been the norm, it is difficult to identify role models who can help guide the way. Within this population of those emerging into adulthood is the legacy of the people in their lives who have died of AIDS. Growing up HIV-positive can destroy some families and have a significant impact on others. Sex can become a way for children, teens and young adults who may feel 'disenfranchised' or disconnected from their peers to feel connected. Given the nature of transmission of HIV and the vulnerability of these children and young people because of their many losses, the burdens they carry and the chronic nature of their illness, issues of sexuality, childbearing and transmission of HIV are central. Increasingly, health and social work professionals must feel comfortable finding ways to bring these issues into the dialogue in the interest of helping this cohort in what has otherwise been uncharted territory.

Young Adult Cancer Survivors Shaken Up, Getting Back, Moving On

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