AIDS and the Empty Nest: Talking Points for HIV-Infected Mothers

June 14, 2012

For many HIV-positive women, seeing children grow to adulthood has many levels of meaning. In this podcast, a psychologist who has studied many such Moms and their kids has insights for their doctors.

What began as a study of the effects on small children of having a HIV-infected mother has matured into an analysis of what happens to the mothers when these children grow up and leave home. The only long-term study of the second-generation effects of AIDS in the United States, it offers a fascinating glimpse of the unusual nature of the empty nest syndrome among women in the first generation. Hear Debra Murphy, PhD, tell why this may have important implications for their medical care.

Dr. Murphy is a research psychologist at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Key quotations:

"We decided we didn't know very much about young children whose mothers were living with HIV. We started following a cohort of HIV-infected women who had a young well child, 5 to 11 years of age, to look at changes, for example, things like the childrens' mental health in relation to the Mom's physical health ... We continued to follow them every six months, and interviewed them in depth... This is the first cohort of children in the US that's been followed all the way from school age to adulthood who have mothers living with HIV."

"I wanted to explore how these Moms were feeling ... Some of the Moms' concerns are typical, and that's what we wanted to distinguish: What's different for these Moms? ... For the HIV-positive Moms, there is this added twist."

AIDS and the Empty Nest: Talking Points for HIV-Infected Mothers

For your reference:

HIV-Positive Mothers With Late Adolescent Early Adult Children: Empty Nest ConcernsHealth Care for Women International, April 2012