Methods: From June 1989 to April 1991, 394 adolescents aged 10-18 years randomly selected upon admission at a state shelter in Belo Horizonte, Brazil underwent health history interview, physical examination, serology for HIV, hepatitis B, and syphilis, and stool examination. Participants were classified as street-based youths (n = 195) or home-based youths (n = 199). The age distribution was similar in both groups, although males were overrepresented among street-based youths (79.5% versus 62.3%). Results: Compared with home-based youths, street-based youths reported earlier onset (p = 0.009) and higher rates of sexual activity (odds ratio [OR], 2.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-3.3), sexual abuse (OR, 3.7; 95% CI, 1.2-10.1), and sexually transmitted diseases (OR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.3-6.6). Overall condom use was low in both groups. Street-based youths were 7.8 times more likely to use drugs than home-based youths (95%CI, 4.9-12.7). Inhalants and marijuana were the more commonly used drugs. Intravenous drug use was low. Conclusions: Although chronic malnutrition and multiple parasitosis were common findings in both groups, street-based youths were more likely to present disorders related to trauma and poor hygienic conditions. Antibodies to HIV were detected in four (2%) street-based youths and in none of the home-based youths. This study confirms that street youths are at higher risk for HIV infection than their home-based peers and indicates a need for HIV prevention programs targeting this population.
- Homeless Adolescents
- institutionalized HIV seroprevalence
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health