Objective: Adverse childhood experience is a known risk factor for risky behavior and negative mental health outcomes. There is dearth of information on adverse childhood experiences among adolescents living with HIV-AIDS in Nigeria. This study assessed the prevalence, pattern and correlates of adverse childhood experience among adolescents with HIV/AIDS attending two tertiary health facilities in Lagos, Nigeria.
Method: Using a cross-sectional study design, 201 adolescents with HIV-AIDS attending out-patient clinics at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, Yaba, Lagos and the Lagos state University Teaching Hospital completed the adverse childhood experience questionnaire (ACE) and a socio-demographic questionnaire. The data was analysed with SPSS version 20.
Result: The mean age of the participants was 13.88 (± 2.53) years, and 61.7% were males. High levels of adverse childhood experiences (ACE>4) were reported by 28.4% of the participants. Nearly three quarters (73.6%) were victims of physical abuse, while 48.7% and 11.8% had been emotionally and sexually abused. There was statistically significant association between high levels of adverse experiences in childhood and occupational class of the father (p=0.022), previous history of hospitalisation (p=0.027) and having HIV positive siblings (p=0.009).
Conclusion: There is a crucial need for interventions targeted towards prevention of physical, emotional and sexual child abuse, and other forms of adverse childhood experiences.
Keywords: HIV-AIDS, adverse childhood experiences, child abuse, adolescents