What you need to know about children with HIV/AIDS
MANILA, Philippines – An improved treatment could help save the lives of children with HIV, the United Nations said on Wednesday, June 5.
The “new antiretroviral formulation” can be mixed with food, making it easier for kids to take their medicines. The oral pellets were made by Indian generic medicines manufacturer CIPLA, and was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
“Treatment innovations such as this that replace unpleasant and bad tasting medicines are a real breakthrough, accelerating access to treatment for children and keeping our youngest healthy,” UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, said in a press statement.
“It is unacceptable that only 24 percent of children living with HIV have access to antiretroviral medicines,” he added. Without treatment, one in 3 children infected with HIV would die before his or her first birthday, and half would die before they turn two.
As of 2013, there are around 3.2 million children worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, said the World Health Organization (WHO).
From 1984 to 2014, there have been 65 HIV cases among Filipino children under 15 years old, the Department of Health (DOH) reported. Meanwhile, there have been 4,307 cases among Filipino youths aged 15-24.
In total, there have been 107 reported HIV deaths among Filipino youths, and 15 deaths among children. (PODCAST: We need to talk about HIV)
Pinoy kids with HIV
Children living with HIV/AIDS are those under 18 years old who have close family members living with HIV, or have lost close family members to HIV/AIDS, and are infected with HIV themselves.
How do they acquire HIV/AIDS?
Most of them have it right after birth, since HIV-positive mothers can transmit the virus to their children during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding.
Mother-to-baby transmissions could be prevented by giving both parties HIV drugs. However, not all women are aware of their HIV status or of available medical services like free HIV tests, treatments, and counselling.
In the Philippines, most children are also unaware that their parents have HIV, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) observed. “Filipino parents living with HIV are reluctant to tell their children about their status because they want to protect their children from HIV-related stigma and discrimination,” it added.
As a result, infected children are not informed about their own HIV status.
Some parents with HIV might also be unable to look after their children once their bodies weaken. This could tear families apart, the Unicef said, as some parents ask their children to live with relatives.
In other cases, when the parents stop working, the children’s needs like healthcare and education might also cease. Some children might even quit school to care for their sick parents.
Several young Filipinos remain clueless about HIV/AIDS, the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study revealed.
This lack of awareness only adds fire to the growing stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS.
Filipino youth's knowledge of HIV/AIDS
Source: 2013 YAFFS
|Highest education attainment||Has comprehensive knowledge|
|High school graduate||19.6%|
|High school undergrad||12.7%|
Although smaller in number, Filipino children are also part of the nation's struggle not only against HIV/AIDS, but also against stigma and misinformation. – Rappler.com