HIV 3 - Treatment in Children

HIV 3 - Treatment in Children

While significant progress has been made in preventing HIV infections in children,1a HIV remains a significant contributor to under-five deaths in South Africa.2a

Back to top

HIV treatment in children – a basic right for all

All people living with HIV are eligible to start HIV treatment – regardless of age, CD4 cell count, and clinical stage.2b

Do not wait. Any child who tests HIV positive should start HIV treatment, as a matter of urgency.2c

Back to top

Did you know?

Children react differently to medication than adults. The metabolism, size, and organ function of children play an important role in the development of effective HIV treatments!3a

Back to top

Diagnosis of HIV infection in children

The majority of children are diagnosed if they show symptoms of disease and the mother is positive.4a

The child of an HIV-infected mother receives HIV antibodies from the mother during pregnancy. These antibodies may persist in his or her blood until 15-18 months of age, even if the child is not infected with HIV. Thus a child may test HIV positive without actually being infected.4a

  • HIV exposed: A child is not necessarily assigned an HIV-positive status if the mother is HIV positive. The correct term to use is HIV-exposed.4a,b

Specific tests are done to determine the child’s status, usually at 6 weeks or 3 months after breastfeeding has ceased.4a,c

Counselling is provided for all parents and legal guardians and informed consent must be obtained before any testing is done.4d

Back to top

HIV treatment in children: an overview

Example of the types of medicines that can be prescribed are:2d

Remember: The combinations that are used are called ‘regimens’.2e

A child will usually be started on one of the below regimens, based on age, weight, viral load and other factors as determined by clinical experts:2d,e

Wherever possible it is easier to take combinations of medicines in one formulation – this is called a fixed dose combination. This reduces the amount of different formulations a child has to take.5a

Children may occasionally need to change their HIV regimen, because of intolerance or side effects. Any changes to medicines will be done in consultation with a doctor.4e

 How often should a child taking ARVs visit a clinic?

The frequency of visits for children on HIV treatment is as follows:2f

  • Children < 6 months should have a clinic visit at least monthly.
  • Children 6 to 23 months should have a clinical visit 1-2 monthly, at the doctor’s discretion.
  • Children 2 to 5 years should have a clinical visit at least every three months.
  • Children > 5 years should have a clinical visit every three months until they are on adult doses.
Back to top

What are the goals of treatment in children?

Back to top

How do you get a child to take medicines everyday?

Up until recently, children’s treatment options often included unpalatable (bad tasting) liquids, some requiring refridgeration. Multiple dosing everyday is difficult for children and parents! Adult caregivers also face barriers like being available to give doses at the right time and dealing with a child that refuses to take the medicine.4g,5a,b Fortunately there have been improvements in formulations over the last several years meaning children have more choice.5b

Early antiretroviral treatment in infants and children has been found to not only improve chances of survival but also ensure normal immune system and neurological (nerves and brain) development.3b

 

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further advice on your condition and the best treatment options for you.

 

Need more help? Right to Care Paediatric and Adolescent HIV Helpline:

082 352 6642

Medical References

  1. UNAIDS FACT SHEET. GLOBAL HIV STATISTICS. Available at: https://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/UNAIDS_FactSheet_en.pdf Last accessed September 2020.
  2. National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes for Health (NIH). HIV Treatment in Infants and Children. Available from: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/hiv-treatment-children Last accessed August 2020.
  3. National Consolidated Guidelines for the management of HIV in adults, adolescents, children and infants and prevention of mother-to-child transmission. South African National Department of Health, February 2020.
  4. National Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines. National Department of Health South Africa, 2004.
  5. Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Pediatric HIV Infection. Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy in children and Adolescents Living with HIV [Last updated April 14, 2020]. Available at: https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/guidelines/html/2/pediatric-arv/83/adherence-to-antiretroviral-therapy-in-children-and-adolescents-living-with-hiv Last accessed September 2020.
Head
Chest
Abdomen
Pelvis
Legs
Feet
Mental Health
Skin
General
Infant Health

For more health information

Click on the body area you want to know more about. Select a related health topic from the menu

Select a body area

RECENT BROCHURE

Concentration and Memory

Everyone experiences occasional trouble with memory, whatever life stage we’re at.

RECENT BROCHURE

Joint Health

Healthy joints are vital for staying mobile throughout your life and doing the sports and other activities you enjoy. 

RECENT BROCHURE

Hay Fever

Allergic rhinitis, also widely known as hay fever, affects up to 10-20% of people, globally.

RECENT BROCHURE

COVID-19 - Post vaccine FAQS

Information on post-vaccination care

RECENT BROCHURE

Excessive Sweating

Causes and risks of excessive sweating 

Content Disclaimer:
You understand and acknowledge that all users of the Dis-Chem website or app are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on the website, are for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to establish a standard of care to be followed by a user of the website. You understand and acknowledge that you should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health. You also understand and acknowledge that you should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained in or transmitted through the website. Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this website or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.
Back to top