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HIV testing in children

Mar 31, 2005

Dear Dr. Bob:

As an HIV specialist and pediatrician, you may be uniquely qualified to answer this question. When my son was born, he received fresh-frozen plasma due to a bleeding problem. This was back in 1998. I know the blood supply in the US is very safe, but I am a worrier, so I had him tested for HIV at 10 months old and again at 32 months old. I have been unable to find any information as to whether this is enough testing to rule out infection. I know that antibody testing in babies born to HIV-infected mothers is not considered definate until 18 months, due to the transfer of antibodies across the placenta, but I have not been able to find any recommendations regarding testing children exposed soon after birth. Does it take a while for the baby's immune system to "kick in" enough to produce antibodies? Should I have him retested? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Should you have him retested? No, absolutely not! In fact, I would not have recommended testing the first two times! Stop doing unnecessary and painful things to your child simply because you are a worrier. Get help for your anxiety and irrational fears. You are the one with the problem here, not your child. I realize you mean well, but in reality you are not helping your child at all by your actions and unwarranted worry. If you don't believe me, please talk to your child's pediatrician before subjecting him to any further testing.

Dr. Bob

Condoms: splitting hairs.

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