Background: Disclosure of HIV positive status to children and adolescents is a complex process. However, disclosure has been found to be associated with improved outcomes. The objective of the current study was to identify the predictors that facilitate disclosure of HIV status to children and adolescents and to study the reasons for non-disclosure. Methods: Interviews of caregivers and reviews of records were done to collect data on caregiver and child information and details regarding the disclosure status of children. Bivariate analysis was done to test the association between HIV status disclosure and different caregiver and child factors. To identify the independent predictors of disclosure, we did multivariable logistic regression. Results: A total of 177 children attending an HIV clinic were included. The mean age of the participants was 10.1 years (SD = 2.8), and about half (50.8%) were female. Most caregivers, 137 (77.8%) stated that disclosure of HIV status to children is important and should be done. However, disclosure had only been made to 59 (33.3%) of the participants. Child age more than 10 years [AOR = 6.7; 95%CI: 1.73-26.01], duration of HIV diagnosis of 5 years or more [AOR = 4.4; 95%CI: 1.26-15.06] and taking a zidovudin (AZT) based regimen [AOR = 3.5; 95%CI: 1.31-9.53] predicted HIV positive status disclosure. Additionally, length of treatment of caregivers of more than 14 years [AOR = 3.9; 95%CI: 1.07-14.61], disclosure of caregiver's HIV status to children and/or others [AOR = 4.7; 95%CI: 1.19-18.74], and the child's inquiry about their condition [AOR = 4.5; 95%CI: 1.16-17.43] increased the odds of disclosure. Conclusion: The rate of disclosure among HIV infected children in southern Ethiopia is low. Primarily time-based factors were associated with the probability of HIV positive status disclosure and a specific regimen which has not been found previously. Further qualitative research may elucidate more on these factors; educational strategies may address some of these determinants.
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