How to protect your child from HIV and other infections
By Alessandro Poggio and Paolo BandinelliIt’s common for parents to assume that children with the virus are immune to infection.
But experts say that can’t be the case.
It’s believed that only about 3% of children with HIV have the virus, and it’s only about 10% of those who develop it that are infected.
The virus has a very low death rate, and the disease can be treated in the long term with antiviral drugs, but it can also be treated at a young age, and even if the disease is cured, it can still cause lifelong health problems.
So what are the most important precautions you should take for your child with HIV?
Paediatrician and expert in paediatrics Dr Alessandro Giorgi, who is a specialist in paediatric blood tests, said it’s important to get blood tests done regularly to monitor the virus levels.
“It’s very important to test your child’s blood every six months or more if he’s still developing,” he said.
“In addition to that, it’s very necessary to test the urine as well, as it can reveal if the virus has been dormant for a while.”
If he’s positive, the blood test should be repeated every three months.
“And, of course, it is also important to have blood tests every three weeks for the other risk factors such as the liver, spleen, adrenal glands, and other organs, to be sure they’re not contaminated by the virus.”
He said this can be particularly important for older children who have had a lot of time to develop the virus and are at higher risk of having it develop in the first place.
“You can also do blood tests at a very young age if the child has been immunosuppressed for some time, or if he has a weakened immune system, for example,” he explained.
Dr Giorgias said he would advise parents to take blood tests regularly to be able to identify when the virus is starting to affect them.
“I would suggest that at this stage you should ask your doctor to give you a list of your childs blood types to ensure they are not at risk of contracting the virus at any time,” he added.
“At the same time, if the risk of infection is very high, then you should always check your child at least every other day.”
Also, it may be advisable to take some antibiotics to help prevent infection if the infection becomes severe, such as ritonavir, doxycycline or metronidazole.
“You can read more about HIV here.