Reductions from lifetime to recent levels of substance use, the time since HIV diagnosis, physical health symptoms, CD4 counts, emotional distress, and social supports were examined among 227 (20% female; 22% African American, 27% Anglo, 35% Latino) youth living with HIV (YLH) ages 13 to 24 years. Substance use pervaded the lives of these youth. Male YLH had used more drugs, more often, and for longer periods than women. However, there had been major reductions in use. Being male, having high emotional distress, and having fewer negative social supports were significantly associated with greater reductions in substance use. There was a trend for the length of time that an individual was seropositive being associated with reductions in substance use. The counterintuitive findings suggest that there must be a re-examination of the role of the social support networks of youth living with HIV, as well as the ways in which emotional distress interacts with risk behaviors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology