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Pediatric HIV
Jul 2, 2003

Hi Doctor, About 3 hours ago my 14 daughter was diagnosed with HIV. The test was part of a routine blood workup prior to surgery for a deviated septum. I adopted her from a Romanian orphanage in 1991,she was age 2. An HIV test in Romania and another upon return to the US showed her to be negative for HIV. I am stunned and scared and bewildered by this news. She is not sexually active. The doctor ordered a Western Blot which he says is more sensitve. I have a million questions, but I want to know if you have any info regarding Romanian children contracting HIV years after being in the US? The doc also asked me about blood transfusions that were rumored to be routinely performed on the kids. Please share any info or suggestions. We live in the LA,CA area.What do I do next???? Thanks A worried mom

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Worried Mom,

First off, never believe a single test result. It might have been a "false positive." Although, here in the US, positive HIV ELISA tests should always be confirmed with Western Blot tests before test results are released! If your daughter is positive, youll need to get hooked up with a pediatric HIV specialist. There are excellent centeres in the LA area that can provide the very best care.

Modes of transmission first, are you certain your daughter has not been sexually active? It is, of course, possible at age 14. Second, yes, blood transfusions are a risk, but there should have been a report if she received a transfusion, and I doubt they would have given her one without a specific medical reason. Could she have been positive since infancy? Possibly. Her CD4 cell count would probably give an indication of long-standing infection, if that were the case. There is also the unlikely possibility that she contracted HIV in Romania, but was tested both there and here in the US during the "window period!" How long was the period between these two tests?

OK, Mom, I know you have a million questions, but first things first. Find out if your daughter is really positive or not. If she is, shell need T-cell tests and viral load studies among other tests to determine how well shes handling the virus. The involvement of a pediatric HIV/AIDS specialist is absolutely crucial; he/she will answer all or most of your million questions. For those remaining questions, Ill be here. Im also a board-certified pediatrician in addition to my immunology degree, and therefore would be happy to help in any way possible.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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