Psychosocial dysfunction and delayed sexual development among adolescents living with HIV in Lagos, Nigeria.

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Somtochukwu Rose Akunne
Elizabeth Eberechi Oyenusi
Adeseye Michael Akinsete
Abiola Olufunmilayo Oduwole


Psychosocial Dysfunction, Delayed Sexual Development, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, Tanner Staging


Background: With increasing survival following the use of antiretroviral therapy, adolescents living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (ALHIV) could have complications such as delayed puberty and psychological complications. In Nigeria, there is limited data on the association between delayed sexual maturation and psychosocial dysfunction in ALHIV. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and the association between delayed sexual development (DSD) and psychosocial dysfunction (PSD) in ALHIV and compare it with uninfected adolescents.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study carried out at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Nigeria and it involved 144 ALHIV and an equal number of HIV-negative controls who were matched for age, sex and social class. Information was obtained from participants using interviewer-administered questionnaires; their stages of sexual development and their psychosocial function were assessed using Tanner staging criteria and the Paediatric Symptom Checklist tool respectively. Data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences software version 23.

Results: The mean (±SD) age of ALHIV and the HIV-negative controls was 14.8 (±3.0) and 14.8 (±2.9) years respectively. All the ALHIV were on HAART and 99.3% were in clinical stage 1. There was no significant difference between the prevalence of DSD among the ALHIV (9.4%) and the HIV-negative controls (6.4%) (p= 0.402). The prevalence of PSD in ALHIV and HIV-negative controls were 4.9% and 5.6% respectively (p=0.791). There was no significant association between PSD and DSD in both groups of study participants (p=0.459 and p=0.301).

Conclusion: The prevalence of PSD and DSD were low and similar among adolescents with and without HIV, and no association was found between PSD and DSD. However, routine screening of adolescents for PSD should be practised for early identification and prompt management where indicated.

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