Developing Guidelines for HIV Antibody Testing Among Victims of Pediatric Sexual Abuse

Child Abuse Negl. 1990;14(1):9-17. doi: 10.1016/0145-2134(90)90076-6.


The incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection acquired by children through sexual abuse is presently unknown. A telephone survey of 63 practitioners of pediatric sexual abuse (PSA) assessment in the five U.S. regions with highest prevalence of HIV infection was conducted to determine the present status of guidelines for HIV antibody testing of PSA victims. No formal protocol was used by any of those surveyed, and a literature review found no existing guidelines for HIV antibody testing of PSA victims. A standard set of clinical situations was presented to practitioners to assess whether a consensus exists of indications for HIV antibody testing of abused children. Seven clinical profiles with 12 criteria were presented including HIV antibody status, AIDS/ARC clinical profile, and behavioral profile of the assailant; clinical profile of the victim; pre-assault victim behavioral profile compatible with high risk of HIV infection (exclusively adolescents); parent/guardian anxiety/psychosocial profile; and profile of the assaultive act with respect to potential transmissibility of HIV. We found an 85% or greater consensus for 6 testing criteria, and based upon these propose an interim set of HIV antibody testing guidelines for PSA victims. There was no consensus about five testing criteria, but their frequent citation merits further consideration. Clinical application of interim guidelines and design of prospective studies to quantitatively evaluate them are reviewed.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / etiology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / complications*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • HIV Antibodies / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • United States


  • HIV Antibodies