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HIV & children

Selina Corkery, Michael Carter

This booklet provides information about treatment and care for children with HIV. It is hoped that it will be useful if you are the parent or carer of a child who was born with HIV or who became HIV positive in childhood. You’ll also find this booklet helpful if you want to talk to a child about his or her HIV, and how they can look after their own health and that of other people in the future. It may also be helpful if you want to talk to your child about other people’s HIV status.

The information in this booklet isn’t intended to replace discussions 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

    In the UK, because of high standards of treatment and care for people with HIV, the risk of a baby becoming HIV positive is very low. (You...

  • HIV testing

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

  • HIV care for children

    Medical care for children with HIV is very specialised. The way HIV develops in babies and children is different to adults, especially because HIV progression can be faster...

  • Monitoring the health of your child

    Your child will have regular clinic appointments, generally every three to four months. These visits usually involve a number of tests, to see whether HIV is affecting their...

  • Psychological wellbeing

    An important part of the care your child receives at their clinic visits involves keeping an eye on how your child is emotionally and psychologically, and how you...

  • 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 HIV. This...

  • Vaccinations and immunisation

    Many childhood illnesses can be avoided through vaccines or immunisations. Most routine vaccines are safe for children living with HIV. It is recommended they should receive the same...

  • 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 important to keep...

  • HIV treatment

    HIV treatment is very effective in children with HIV, making it a long-term, manageable condition. In the UK, the standards of HIV treatment for children are set out...

  • Side-effects

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

  • Living with HIV

    With careful management of their health, children with HIV can have a happy, normal and – thanks to HIV treatment – long life. However, your child will grow...

  • Talking to your child about HIV

    Giving your child information about HIV will be a process. What you say will depend on the child’s age, their level of understanding, and their readiness to...

  • Telling other people that your child has HIV

    It’s up to you who you – and your child, as they mature – tell that your child has HIV, and when you tell them. HIV is a...

  • 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, but most...

  • The future

    In the UK, the expectation now is that children born with HIV will do well on treatment, so their care needs to include planning for their teenage...

  • Where to go for information, help and support

    You can find services supporting children and families with HIV in your local area by using CHIVA’s service finder at http://chiva.org.uk/professionals/health/care-education/providers.html. You can also find HIV support organisations across...

  • Summary

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

HIV & children

Published March 2015

Last reviewed March 2015

Next review March 2018

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.