Treatment for HIV has come a long way in recent years. Today, many children living with HIV thrive into adulthood.
HIV virus is known to attack the immune system, which makes children with HIV more vulnerable to infections and disease. With the right treatment, illness can be prevented and keep HIV from progressing.
What causes HIV in children?
HIV might be present at birth or can develop in a newborn quickly. Perinatal transmission, often known as vertical transmission, explains HIV contracted during childbirth.
HIV can be passed on to children throughout pregnancy (via the placenta) and delivery (through the transfer of blood or other fluids), through breastfeeding.
Of course, not all HIV-positive people will transmit the disease while they are pregnant, especially if they are on antiretroviral therapy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, with intervention, the global risk of HIV transmission during pregnancy drops to under 5%. HIV transmission rates range from 15 to 45 percent during pregnancy if no measures are taken.
Contact with semen, vaginal fluid, or blood containing HIV results in secondary transmission, also referred to as horizontal transmission.
The most typical means by which youth get HIV is through sexual transmission. Without the use of a condom or other barrier, transmission can happen during vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse.
Teenagers may not always be aware that they have HIV. The risk of acquiring or spreading an STI, including HIV, can be decreased by using a barrier technology like a condom, especially when used correctly.
Sharing needles, syringes, and similar items can also spread HIV.
HIV symptoms in children and teenagers.
A newborn may initially show no noticeable signs. As the immune system deteriorates, you could begin to notice:
delayed development and growth
repeated or extended infections with persistent fever, sweating, frequent diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, or infections that don’t respond well to treatments
loss of weight
failure to thrive
The symptoms change with age and from child to child. Children and adolescents could:
recurrent vaginal yeast infections, skin rash, and mouth thrush
lung infections or enlarged liver or spleen
difficulty with attention and memory
cancerous or benign tumors
Untreated HIV infection increases a child’s risk of developing illnesses like:
Pelvic inflammatory disease due to herpes hepatitis
Blood tests are used to detect HIV, albeit it could take more than one test.
Although there isn’t a cure for HIV as of right now, it can be properly treated and managed. Many young people with HIV today lead long, healthy lives.
Antiretroviral therapy is the principal treatment for children with HIV, just like it is for adults. HIV development and transmission are prevented with antiretroviral therapy and medicines.
Yet, there are a few unique factors to take into account when treating youngsters. Age, growth, and stage of development are all important and must be reevaluated as the youngster enters puberty and becomes older.
The following are additional considerations:
the degree of HIV infection
the possibility of past and present HIV-related illnesses progressing
toxicities in the short- and long-term
consequences and drug interactions