HIV and Aids in Children
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HIV and AIDS in Children Facts

Among the major life threatening ailments that keep the medical community on its toes, AIDS deserves a special mention. This is a syndrome that gradually destroys the immunity system of the patient’s body thereby making him vulnerable to various diseases. This ultimately leads the person to death. The word stands for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and it is interpreted in clinical terms as a life threatening and persistent ailment.

As a matter of fact, AIDS can affect people irrespective of their gender, age, ethnicity and race. Even the children are not spared from its grasp. The rising incidents of HIV and AIDS in children have caused great concern among the leading NGOs dealing with child health and welfare issues and they have come up with various strategies and intervention programs to stop its spread.

Causes of HIV and AIDS in Children

The virus responsible for causing AIDS in human beings is known as HIV or the Human immunodeficiency virus. When a person gets infected with the virus he develops a series of physical syndrome that is called AIDS in clinical terms. The human body has an in built system of defense to guard the body from the infections of virus and bacteria.

The HIV virus destroys the body’s defense mechanism and hence the affected person becomes susceptible to a number of diseases. The most prevalent infections an AIDS afflicted person faces are meningitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and some forms of cancers.

While the adults contract the HIV virus through blood transfusion and unsafe sexual intercourse, the children mainly acquire the virus from the mother’s body. A woman infected with the virus can transmit it to the foetus in her womb. The passing of the virus can take place during the pregnancy or after birth through breast feeding. The HIV virus depends on the body fluids for transmission.

Symptoms of HIV and AIDS in Children

The symptoms of the infection vary from person to person and some people may not show any symptom for a long time. When the virus starts impacting the immune system of the body, the person can suffer from a short lasting spell of illness resembling flu. Other symptoms that may appear include a sore throat, headache, fever etc.

The HIV infected children show two types of illness. Near about 20 percent of the HIV afflicted children contract serious ailments in their first year and within a few years they breathe their last. The majority of the HIV affected children however live for some more time as the disease manifests slowly.

It has been observed that HIV and AIDS in children make them underweight and also hinder proper growth. Some of these children may face hardship in walking while some others suffer from lack of mental growth.

The children can also fall prey to the opportunistic infections just like the adult victims of AIDS. They can also suffer from breath shortness, dementia, visual disorders etc all of which can assume severe form if not treated for long.The presence of HIV virus is detected by a specialized blood test. This test identifies the antibodies.

It should be kept in mind that these antibodies may appear about 3 months after the infection so the initial results of the test may be negative. The children can receive the antibodies from their infected mothers. However, for the first 18 months the results of antibody test may be negative.

Nevertheless, the advanced blood tests can now detect the presence of the virus in the bodies of infants below 6 months with 95% accuracy. An infected child shows abysmally low level of CD4 lymphocyte which is a genre of white blood cell. If the CD4 count is below 200, then the child is said to be infected with HIV.

Treatment of HIV and AIDS in Children

Unfortunately there is no specific remedy for HIV and AIDS in children. However, the application of antiretroviral therapy has been found to be effective in most of the cases. Practicing a good hygiene is also important to reduce the chances of infection.

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