Raising A Child Born HIV Positive

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the deadliest disease in the human history. It causes Acquired...



Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the deadliest disease in the human history. It causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by infecting and damaging part of body’s defence against infection. HIV spreads through direct contact with the blood or body fluid of someone who is infected.

Children with HIV are at higher risk for some forms of cancer as they have weakened immune systems. Lymphomas associated with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is more common in older kids with HIV. They get it from their mothers during pregnancy or while breast feeding.

HIV patients are often boycotted from the society. We must understand that HIV/AIDS is not spread by touching patients or sharing belongings with them.

Symptoms

In Babies: babies born with HIV mostly appear healthy, but within 2 to 3 months after birth, an infected baby might begin to appear sick, with poor weight gain, mouth infections, enlarged lymph nodes, an enlarged liver or spleen, brain, and nervous system.
In Kids: a child with HIV may also get more severe bouts of other common childhood infections such as EBV infection, which causes mild illness in most kids. Tuberculosis has been a particularly common problem and often causes death of children and adults living with HIV.
In Teens and Adults: teens and adults who have HIV usually show no symptoms at the time of infection. It may take up to 10 years for the symptoms to show. During this time, they can spread this virus without even knowing they have it. Once the symptoms of AIDS appear, they include rapid weight loss, intense fatigue (tiredness), swollen lymph nodes, lasting diarrhoea, night sweats or pneumonia.

Treatment :

It is important to treat your child affected by this virus. Many pharmacies add flavouring to bad-tasting medicines or your doctor may recommend mixing pills with applesauce or pudding. As drugs are still limited, doctors are concerned if children fail to take their prescribed medicines the virus would eventually develop resistant to the HIV drugs that will make treatment difficult.

Children living with HIV/AIDS :

Children living with this virus have special needs that are different from the adults suffering from the same. They are not able to access to services and help themselves. They usually depend on their mother. Children who are affected with this virus at birth have infected parents who are ailing or they die. At this stage, it is important for the people who know them to step forward and take care of the child. It is highly important for the society to accept them for who they are. People must understand that children will not spread HIV through sitting next to each other in class or while playing together. There are many childcare committees and local clinics who give special training to parents and caregivers to ensure that they are raising the child in the best possible manner.

Caring for children born with HIV:

First, we need to understand what an infected child is going through:

  • They suffer from emotional problems or disturbed behaviours such as getting upset because of stressful experience they are going through.
  • They may go through educational problems such as missing school, difficulties in learning and may require extra help at school.
  • They may become depressed.
  • They may be vulnerable to bullying.

It is important as a parent to support and guide your child to fight the virus positively. Parents who appreciate emotional impact of illness on the child and on the rest of the family are in better situation to understand problems early and do something about it. Listed below are some points that you, as parents, should follow:

  • Live a normal life.
  • Be open with your child’s difficulties.
  • Restrict the child as little as possible.
  • Encourage the child to be independent.
  • Link with other families with similar experience for guidance and support.
  • Help the child to get along with other children

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