Harlan Still & Koch

Can prenatal HIV infection lead to disability?


Not every person with HIV contracts the disease as a sexually active adult. Some people contract HIV prenatally. One may wonder how contracting HIV prenatally affects a person's health as a young adult. One recent study examined that question, the results of which may interest people in Missouri and elsewhere who suffer from HIV.

A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics examined whether young adults who contracted HIV prenatally run the risk of suffering additional physical health conditions and mental health conditions. Of the people who participated in the study, 27 percent had a psychiatric condition, such as substance use, anxiety and mood disorders. The study concluded that these disorders threatened the participants' health as adults within the context of HIV.

The results of this study further emphasize how HIV, however acquired, can negatively affect a person's health. While some people with HIV may continue to function on a daily basis, others may find that performing basic tasks such as working, social functioning and completing basic actions requiring concentration or pace are not possible due to their illness. The Social Security Administration recognizes this and therefore includes HIV in its Listing of Impairments. If a person with HIV meets the qualifications for being disabled, he or she may seek Social Security Disability benefits.

Living with HIV can be a struggle for some, even if they acquired the disease prenatally. While there are ways to treat the symptoms of HIV, sometimes a person with HIV suffers further physical and mental health conditions. When these conditions become debilitating, a person with HIV may apply for SSD benefits to make ends meet financially when they cannot work.

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