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HIV & children

Michael Carter

This booklet provides information about HIV treatment and care for HIV-positive children. We hope it will be useful if you are the parent or carer of an HIV-positive child. You may also find this booklet helpful if you want to talk to a child about either his or her HIV or that of another family member, in order to help them come to terms with the news and to find ways to stay well in the future.

The information in this booklet isn’t intended to replace discussion with a doctor or other professionals. However, it may help you to decide what questions you would like to ask and can be a starting point for discussion.

  • Children with HIV

    Because of improvements in HIV treatment and care, large numbers of children who were born with HIV are now able to live healthy and productive...

  • HIV testing for babies and children

    It is very important that children born to HIV-positive women are tested for HIV. Ideally, this should happen at birth (see below). But if this...

  • HIV care for children

    Medical care for HIV-positive children is very specialised. Furthermore, the way HIV develops in babies and children is different to that in adults, especially because...

  • Monitoring the health of your child

    Your child will have a number of tests to see how HIV is affecting their health and development. Looking at the results of these tests,...

  • Symptoms and illnesses

    All children get unwell from time to time, but it is especially important to watch out for certain illnesses and symptoms if your child has...

  • Vaccinations and immunisation

    Many childhood illnesses can be avoided through vaccines or immunisations. Most routine vaccines are safe for children living with HIV and are recommended. Your child...

  • Dental health

    Good dental health is important for every child, but especially for children with HIV. Your child’s teeth should be gently cleaned twice a day. It’s...

  • HIV treatment

    HIV treatment can mean a longer and healthier life for children with HIV. This treatment consists of taking a combination of three different anti-HIV drugs....

  • Side-effects

    All medicines can cause side-effects. The side-effects caused by the anti-HIV drugs used today are generally mild and lessen or go away completely over time....

  • Living with HIV

    Children with HIV can have a happy, normal and, thanks to HIV treatment, long life. However, your child will grow up with some different experiences...

  • Talking to your child about HIV

    Giving your child information about HIV will be an ongoing process. What you say at any one time will depend on the child’s age, their...

  • Telling other people that your child has HIV

    It’s up to you who you tell, and when you tell them, that your child has HIV. You don’t have to tell playgroups, schools or...

  • Education

    At the age of four or five your child will start going to school. This is initially an unsettling experience for a lot of children,...

  • The future

    More and more children who were infected with HIV at birth are growing up and entering their teenage years and adulthood. Some children’s HIV clinics...

  • Where to go for information, help and support

    THT Direct - 0845 12 21 200 10am to 10pm Monday to Friday 12 noon to 6pm at weekends THT Direct staff can provide information, support and advice,...

  • Summary

    If you are an HIV-positive woman, it’s very important that your children are tested for HIV. The course of HIV infection in children is different to...

HIV & children

Published January 2010

Last reviewed January 2010

Next review December 2013

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.