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How long is it from being born with HIV to when symptoms and AIDS begins?

Oct 21, 1999

is it possible for a new born child with hiv not to show symptoms for ten years or more. what is the maximum period for a new born baby with hiv to develop symtoms or to progress to aids

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. As treatments have significantly improved over the past few years, the length of time from infection, to when symptoms begin, to when full-blown AIDS begins, have significantly increased (both in children and adults). Because treatments have improved so dramatically and so quickly, it is very difficult to say what is currently the average or maximum periods of time from being born with HIV (known as perinatal infection), until symptoms begin, and finally until full-blown AIDS begins.

Most children born with HIV have come down with full-blown AIDS as children. For example, in the United States, from 1981 until June 1999, there have been 8,596 cases of pediatric AIDS (defined as being diagnosed with AIDS when under the age of 13). Since HIV is not reportable in all parts of the USA, we cannot say how many children have HIV, but do not have AIDS.

But not all children born with HIV will develop AIDS while they are still children. For example, in the United States, from 1981 until June 1999, there have been 124 cases where a child was born with HIV (perinatal infection), but they did not come down with full-blown AIDS until they were 13 years of age or older (making them adult AIDS cases). In other words, these 124 cases were considered pediatric HIV cases, but were also considered adolescent/adult AIDS cases. Since treatments have recently improved, and since children are now living longer with HIV, we can expect the number of these types of cases to increase over time.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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