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When to start 9 yr old on medications
Apr 7, 2009

My son, age 10 was recently infected by accident. What are the options and when should he be started on medications and what are the best choice to ensure compliance with the daily dosage etc.

Also, at his age, how long before he gets Aids with the current treatment protocol. Is there any new drugs/research he can look forward to.

Is there any hope for him. Its too sad to discuss......

Thanks

Response from Dr. McGowan

I am sorry to hear that your son has HIV infection. I hope that you have enough support to help you through this. Talking to other parents of HIV infected children may be a great help in coping. Your son's HIV treater should be able to refer you for this support if you do not have access.

Children over the age of 5 years are started on treatment based on similar guidelines as adults...if your son's CD4 T cell count is less than 350 or he has symptoms (such as recurrent infections, diarrhea, swollen glands, yeast infections in the mouth) then treatment should be started.

Treatment now always consists of combinations of 3 or more active medications, this is called a combination regimen (or cocktail). We refer to this as HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy). HAART therapy will be able to fully suppress HIV to below detectable levels. ONce suppressed, all the new CD4 cells made every day by your son will be free of infection and his immune system will begin to recover.

The goal is to start treatment before a child gets sick. If he is monitored carefully there is no reason your son ever has to progress to AIDS. He can expect to live a very long life. Data demonstrates improved life expectancy every year on our current medications. Being adherent and taking the medications on schedule is very important. Most children have success by making it a part of the daily routine without much fanfare about it. Many of the medications are available in flavored liquids which may make it easier to take.

I wish you the best. The important thing is to be strong and focused and understand that your son has an excellent chance of remaining healthy and thriving in spite of his HIV infection. He will live with it. Do your best to let him be a kid, you must keep an uplifting attitude.

Best,

Joe



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