Yes, a child can be born with HIV or AIDS! The infection is passed from the infected mother to the fetus during pregnancy for while delivery. Breastfeeding can also be a source of transmission of infection from mother to the child. However a baby born with HIV can lead a normal life just like their negative peers if he/she takes treatment correctly, take care of their general health, and go for the routine medical tests. In this article we will find out in detail about this dreaded infection.
HIV or AIDS
HIV or AIDS is one of the most dreaded diseases throughout the world which destroys the immunity of a person and leaves body stranded to fight against deadly conditions like cancer. Even the idea of having a child which is HIV positive is enough to send the cold chills through the spine of a person. However it seems to be over rated in that condition as if the infected mother do take proper treatment and cautions during the pregnancy than the infection can be prevented at first place and even if it is passed the child can have a normal lifestyle if he/she takes well care of their general health and take proper treatment for it.
However the number of these infected children is going down every year due to increased precautions and awareness about it. However not to be taken lightly, congenital HIV( HIV present since birth) is the most common cause of deaths in preteens in many countries. HIV leads to damaged immune system to the point that you are not able to fight even minor infections like cold and cough.
Best Way to Prevent HIV in Children
The best way to Prevent HIV in Children is that if a to be mother is tested positive for the infection of HIV proper care should be taken during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. This reduces the chances of child getting the infection from mother, a lot. Children other than being infected from the mother can get HIV from various other means like in some countries like India, child marriages are common. Hence young girl can get the infection from her older age husband (who must be infected due many causes that causes HIV in adults) and further she can pass it to her children. In countries like Europe drug abuse is very common and even children are not safe from it.
Young children like 10 years of age are getting HIV through sharing needles during taking drugs. While in underdeveloped countries this chance of children being infected is increased due to the transfusion of infected blood or use of unsterilized injections. So not only the children of HIV positive parents are at risk, some social and economical factors of the region can make a child prone too to get this dread infection.
Signs and Symptoms
Coming to the point that if the baby get infected from the mother then what are the signs that you are supposed to see in the child. All the children born with HIV infection are not supposed to have the signs and symptoms and the one who have may vary from one child to another.
Some of them are
- Child fail to grow and gain weight like other children of the same age group
- Developmental milestones are delayed
- Child can have nervous system problem like difficulty in walking, seizures or below average performance in the school
- Repeated infections of the childhood like cold, infection of ear, indigestion or diarrhea
- Fever lasting for a month
- Complicated chickenpox
If the child is not given proper medical treatment and care at this point of time the infection of HIV can increase resulting in critical complaints like:
- Pneumonia or fungal infection of the lungs
- Severe diaper rashes
- Oral thrush lasting for one or two month at once
These all the symptoms appear due to the destruction of the immune cells (CD4 cells) by the HIV that completely damages the ability of a body to fight against any infection or disease. There is a period in which person remain asymptomatic after infection in which virus keep on destroying the immune cells without appearance of any symptoms.
However, there is a ray of hope for such people as if the mother gets to know timely about the infection and take proper treatment and precautions during pregnancy and delivery the chances of transmission of infection decreases to very low or insignificance. Due to this reason in many developed countries the HIV test is available for all the pregnant women so that the infection is detected earlier and transmission is prevented.
Owing to these steps the rate of transmission in such countries has decreased a lot as compared to other regions where these facilities are not available. The transmission usually occurs from mother to child through blood, sexual fluid and breast milk.
One more major factor about HIV transmission to unborn baby is that even if the mother is positive but the viral load is undetectable, the virus cannot be passed on to the baby. The only main factor behind all this is that the early detection of HIV positive mother is necessary. Once it is known that the mother is positive, proper treatment can prevent the transmission to her baby.
This mother is also not allowed to breastfeed to baby and once baby is born, he/she is given a course of treatment for HIV. These factors make clear that why mother-baby transmission of HIV is more common in poorer or underdeveloped countries.
At the end I just want to say instead of feeling guilt afterwards it is better to be cautious earlier. You must be happy to hear that with the growing awareness and steps taken by people now the rate of transmission of HIV from mother to baby is only 1% and if the proper treatment is taken it decreases further.
Always remember mother-to-child-transmission of AIDS is almost entirely preventable. So instead of panicking take steps today so that you don’t regret later!
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