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Late Diagnoses of HIV Infected Children is No Child’s Play, Survey Reveal

There has been a lot of talk about improving HIV detection and treatment; unfortunately most endeavors for remedy target adults. Children are at the wrong end of the stick, a news study has shown. //

A study undertaken to find out the challenges to HIV care for children in India, has revealed that most children are diagnosed only when they are 30 months or more. Avina Sarna from the Population Council of India, in association with the Social Awareness Services Organization (SASO), surveyed the status of children in three states in India- Manipur, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. These states contain a large number of HIV infected children.

Nearly 80,000 new born suffer HIV. The survey revealed that only one-fifth of the children were diagnosed with HIV before they turned 18 months. Most children were detected with HIV between 30 and 60 months and the rest were tested only after 60 months. 44% of caregivers confirmed they have stuck to the prescribed medicines and one-third of them were well informed about the modes of transmission. The remaining lot appeared to be guessing between medications, mosquito bites and eating out as possible modes of HIV transmission. 50% of the caregivers expressed problems in getting their children to consume the medicines due to difficulty in swallowing, dosage problems if the tablets are broken etc.

India's pediatric HIV programme has received a shot in the arm from Naco, which is getting 19 Qualitative Polymerase Chain Reaction machines (PCR). These machines can precisely find out the presence of HIV in children below 13 years of age.

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