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According to statistics, 36 million people were living with AIDS in 2016, of which 2.1 million were children under 15 years of age. And, despite the fact that death cases have been reduced since 2005 by 48%, it still remains a problem worldwide.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease in which there is a progressive failure of the immune system, so the body cannot fight infections and other diseases. It is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). It affects people of any age and condition, but on our site we focus on HIV in children and adolescents.
The HIV virus can be transmitted in several ways:
- Through unprotected sex, is the most common form of contagion of the disease. It is also a frequent route of transmission among HIV-positive adolescents.
- Being exposed to blood contaminated with the virus: it is how people who use drugs or some patients transfused with blood and even medical personnel are infected.
- Mother to son: it is the most common form of contagion in children. And it is that it can be transmitted by the seropositive mother to the baby during pregnancy, at the time of delivery or even in lactation.
The main route of treatment for HIV is through antiretroviral treatment (TAR). These drugs do not cure AIDS, but they do manage to keep it at bay. One of the main measures for it to work is good compliance with the medication regimen and not skipping any of the doses.
Treatment is the same for adults and children. However, in the case of babies, there is the possibility of administering it in liquid form due to the inability to swallow pills of younger children.
To this day, there is neither a vaccine against the virus, nor a medicine that completely cures those affected.
Antiretroviral treatments allow HIV-positive children to have a life expectancy of at least 35 years. However, many of the affected children live in areas where these drugs do not reach, so mortality is higher in these depressed areas.
Children suffering from AIDS or children orphaned by AIDS suffer a phenomenon as cruel as disease and it is the discrimination and violence by other children and adults.
They are children and adolescents who suffer rejection from others who, out of ignorance and fear, fear touching them or having the slightest contact with them. It is even difficult for them to find a school as they are opposed by many intolerant parents and teachers.
To date, there are only two ways to stop the advance of HIV in children and adolescents:
- Prevention: with campaigns aimed at teenagers to make them aware of the importance of having safe sex.
- Early detection and treatment: many AIDS patients do not know they are until the disease has advanced. If HIV-positive pregnant women receive adequate treatment, the spread of the disease to the baby can be reduced to less than 1% of those affected.
You can read more articles similar to HIV in children and adolescents, in the category of Childhood Diseases on site.