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HIV positive children & treatment
Dec 30, 2003

I have family in southern Africa, and lived there in 2001-2002. I am sure you are aware that the virus there is so widespread that when a woman becomes pregant, chances are high that she has exposed herself to HIV. Obviously in these circumstances the mother-to-child transmission rate is also high and many children live with HIV from babyhood. In my experience, these children get sick and die usually by the age of about eleven. What I want to know is, can children in Africa and elsewhere be treated with antiretrovirals and can they grow to adulthood and even old age with treatment? TJM

Response from Dr. Pierone

Yes, children with HIV that have access to treatment with antiretrovirals can thrive and grow to adulthood. No one knows the ultimate impact of HIV and its treatment on longevity since that would require predictions decades into the future and who knows how medical technology will change in that time frame.

One of the great failings of civilization today is our muted response to the global HIV pandemic. As Richard Feacham from the Global HIV, TB, and Malaria fund recently said, "The world sleeps in the face of the greatest threats to mankind, Future generations will marvel"

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