Embracing a family-centred response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic for the elimination of pediatric AIDS

  • DeGennaro V
  • Zeitz P
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There are 2.1 million children under the age of 15 living with HIV/AIDS, and 290,000 children died of AIDS in 2007. Despite recent increases in the number of adults on antiretroviral therapy (ART), the number of children receiving treatment remains inappropriately small, and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) efforts have been grossly inadequate. In sub-Saharan Africa, 14% of those in need of treatment are children, but only 6% of those are receiving treatment. Globally, only 23% of HIV-positive pregnant women have access to PMTCT programmes, which led to 420,000 new pediatric infections last year. Countries with comprehensive, integrated family-centred care programmes are better equipped to prevent and treat pediatric HIV/AIDS. True family-centred care offers prompt maternal and pediatric HIV diagnosis, antiretroviral prophylaxis, cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, and long-term ART for the entire family, as appropriate. Simple child health interventions, prompt treatment of opportunistic infections, nutritional supplementation and infant replacement feeding, as well as malaria treatment and prevention have been proven to synergistically improve pediatric HIV care and increase service uptake. To eliminate pediatric HIV/AIDS, national governments must embrace family-centred care, implement pediatric-friendly infrastructure, and train healthcare workers to treat children.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Family-centred care
  • Pediatric HIV/AIDS

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  • V. DeGennaro

  • P. Zeitz

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