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October 9, 2008

Family Support Helps Prevent HIV in Mentally Ill Teens

New research shows that parental encouragement is key in preventing HIV infection in teens living with mental illness, who have been shown to have high rates of risky sexual behavior such as not using condoms, United Press International reports.

“It’s clear that family involvement is critical in the development of the sexual attitudes and behaviors of teenagers,” lead author Wendy Hadley said in a statement. “However, this is particularly important for teens with psychiatric disorders whose decision-making abilities may be hindered by their illness, causing them to engage in risky behaviors that can potentially expose them to HIV.”

The research was presented at the National Institute of Mental Health’s annual International Research Conference on the Role of Families in Preventing and Adapting to HIV/AIDS.

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