HIV in Babies


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The treatment for a baby who has caught HIV from its mother is different to that for adults. The following article details what can be done for the baby and the quality of life it can have. It is useful for those with an HIV positive baby or those seeking to learn more about the topic.

The treatment of HIV in babies

If a mother was HIV positive it is standard to test the baby at birth, 6 weeks and 12 weeks. These tests are not the standard HIV antibody tests if the baby was born to an HIV positive mother. This is because the baby would naturally have high levels of these antibodies from the mother. Instead a technique called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to identify the virus. This is used because antibody testing is ineffective due to antibody transfer from the mother during pregnancy. 
 
If found to be HIV positive the drugs regimen for the baby will be prescribed on a case by case basis. This usually involves drugs in a liquid form that is easier for babies and young children to ingest.

Prognosis of baby with HIV

A baby born HIV positive will have to take medication to combat the disease for the rest of its life. Life expectancy without medication is approximately only two years. With the appropriate drug regimen this can be extended to a relatively normal life expectancy.

Long term care for HIV positive baby

The use of either powdered or liquidised antiretroviral drugs helps a baby or toddler to swallow the medicine it needs to survive. These will be changed to the normal, cheaper pill form when the child is old enough to take them.

There are numerous support groups and charities available in the UK which specialise in the support of those with HIV or those with HIV positive children. Information on these can be given through the NHS or your health care provider. A popular HIV support group who also specialise in those pregnant with HIV during and after their pregnancy are Positively UK.


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