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Mental State of HIV+ child

Jan 11, 2009

Hi Dr Horwath

2 Question if you dont mind.

I have an HIV+ 3,5 year old foster childr who is on ARV's and had been since she was a year old. Her latest cd4 count was 31% (in SA counts on children done in percentages) and she is healthy. However her mental state has deteriorated in the past 6 weeks. She will sit and laugh for ages with no expression on her face. She has become destructive and defiant to the extreme. Has there been any study done on the effects of arv's or hiv for that matter on the mental state of children?

Second question: What is the expected norm life expectancy for a child with hiv .... straight honest answer would be appreciated .



Response from Dr. Horwath

HIV infection has been associated with slower neurological development in children who are untreated. Destructive and defiant behavior may be due to a variety of causes. Your child should have a psychological or psychiatric evaluation.

There is not enough data on HIV positive children in treatment to estimate an accurate life expectancy. Like adults, children who are on an effective treatment and are highly adherent to the treatment can do very well for many years, depending in part on when the treatment was started during the course of their HIV infection. Your child has been treated since a very early age, which is a good prognostic sign.

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