Ethics and Research with Children: A Case-Based Approach

By Eric Kodish | Go to book overview

5
Adolescent Research and Parental Permission

Lauren K. Collogan and Alan R. Fleischman


CASE DESCRIPTION

An investigator proposes to conduct structured interviews of adolescents to examine the relationship between sexual and drug use practices, as well as social and psychological background and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status. The results of the study will be used to further understanding of social determinants of HIV prevalence in adolescents and to generate hypotheses about prevention programs. The study is not designed to benefit participants, but rather to increase general knowledge.

The participants in the study will be patients at a general adolescent clinic in a large urban medical center. All patients will be recruited to become research participants at the time of enrollment for care in the clinic, and those who agree to participate in the study will complete a structured interview and will be tested for HIV using discarded blood drawn for other routine tests. The results of the HIV test will be linked only to the anonymous interview surveys so that associations with HIV status can be identified for research purposes. Participants will not be informed of their HIV status from the study test results, and the seroprevalence results will be anonymous and will not be linked to patient identifiers. However, all patients will be referred for voluntary HIV testing and counseling as is routine practice in this clinic.

Some of the topics that the interview will address include sexual behavior, partner history, contraceptive and barrier protection use, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and specifically whether or not the participant has engaged in anal, survival, unprotected, man to man, or oral sex. Participants will also be asked to discuss drug use and habits as well as any history of physical and sexual abuse.

In her application for institutional review board (IRB) approval, the investigator contends that the study does not place the participants at more than a minimal risk of harm, given the anonymous nature of the interview and the

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