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Medical News

Kids With HIV Living Longer With Antiretroviral Drugs

January 4, 2011

The number of children born with HIV is shrinking, and those who did acquire the infection at birth are living longer, healthier lives.

"It's possible there may be no progression to AIDS, if you're taking the medication[s] and not developing resistance to them," said Dr. Kenneth Dominguez, a CDC expert on pediatric HIV/AIDS.

The AIDS-related medical clinic at Children's Medical Center Dallas follows 110 HIV-positive patients ages seven months to 22 years. Most are on a strict regimen of antiretrovirals.

"They're growing up and becoming adults, going to college, getting married, and having babies of their own," said clinic medical director Dr. Tess Barton.

One of the riskier periods is adolescence, when some young patients resist the strict course of treatment required to keep HIV in check. "If they do that, they can revert to developing AIDS-defining conditions, and they can die," Dominguez said.

In 37 states and five territories in 2007, CDC was monitoring more than 8,000 children who had acquired HIV at birth. Currently, the median survival age of those infected at birth is 18, though that number continues to climb.

Another 4,489 children are known to have died of HIV complications since in the beginning of the epidemic.

The number of children born with the virus has plummeted since the 1990s thanks to improvements in treatment and care.

"When infected mothers take medication, only 1 to 2 percent of their babies get HIV," said Barton. "Without medication, 26 percent of the babies were born with it."

Back to other news for January 2011

Adapted from:
Dallas Morning News
12.20.2010; Sherry Jacobson

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More Statistics on Young People and HIV/AIDS in the U.S.


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