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HIV and AIDS

How Does HIV/AIDS Impact Children?

04/17/2003

Question:

Hello. I was wondering about the impact of AIDS/HIV on children. How does it impact them intellectually, physically, and psychologically? (if it does impact them in that sort of way). Do they receive treatment different from adults? Are they to receive extra treatments?

Answer:

Like any chronic illness, HIV infection has a tremendous impact on every aspect of the lives of children. Their growth is often shortened. They may have involvement with HIV in the brain leading to poor school performance. Side effects of medications and the illness may affect their stamina and ability to participate in sports and other school activities. The impact of being faced with an ultimately fatal disease is very hard for anyone including a child. Finally, many children with HIV are excluded by others from participation in the normal activities of life. Treatment for HIV is generally similar for children as in adults. The doses of medicines are different and based upon weight. Most children require 3 medicines to control the HIV infection. Sometimes this must be given as a liquid that is not often very palatable. 

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Response by:

Carl   Fichtenbaum, MD Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati