HIV Infection and Children: A Medical Overview

By Anderson, Virginia | Child Welfare, March/April 1998 | Go to article overview

HIV Infection and Children: A Medical Overview


Anderson, Virginia, Child Welfare


A decade has passed since the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) National Task Force on Children and HIV Infection published its Initial Guidelines on HIV Infection, a monograph that evolved in response to questions raised at a seminar sponsored by CWLA the previous year. At that 1987 seminar, "Attention to AIDS," a compelling need to develop sound child welfare policy based on incomplete but best available medical experience was voiced, and CWLA took the lead in responding. Ten years later, despite multiple advances in medical care, the social, medical, and legal challenges of HIV/AIDS continue to affect children, families, and communities. The need to promote best practice through training, research, and literature remains paramount.

HIV Transmission

The medical overview I wrote in 1988 for CWLA's Initial Guidelines focused on HIV transmission. There was a clear need to counter the epidemic of fear and prejudice associated with HIV with knowledge of how HIV is and is not transmitted. Fortunately, clinical experience and time have confirmed that HIV is not transmitted by casual contact and that the risk to health care providers and child care workers is remote if universal precautions are observed. HIV does not spread in households through activities of daily living or hugging an infected person. Although HIV can be transmitted through exposure to infected blood or body secretions, universal precautions-the use of latex gloves and bleach when contact must be made with those fluids-can prevent transmission. HIV proliferates in white blood cells; thus, infected blood must be in direct contact with the blood of an uninfected person through a break in the skin or mucous membranes for a new HIV infection to occur. The odds of exposure to bodily secretions and blood is greatest during anal receptive intercourse, the sharing of intravenous drug paraphernalia with an infected person, and vaginal heterosexual intercourse. Prior to the development of the HIV antibody test in 1985, HIV-contaminated blood products were a major source of HIV infection, especially to those dependent on those products, such as hemophiliacs. The nation's blood supply is now tested routinely for HIV, and the risk of acquiring HIV through a blood transfusion is extremely remote.

HIV can also be transmitted from an infected mother to her child, either prenatally or during childbirth. Most infantile HIV is acquired during delivery; infection in the womb or via breast feeding accounts for only about 10% of infant HIV cases in the United States. When transmission of HIV to the infant occurred can now be determined through testing at or during the first few weeks following birth. A positive viral culture or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for HIV at birth indicates intrauterine HIV transmission. HIV can destroy the immune systems of infants infected in utero before such systems have a chance to develop. These infants have high viral loads and tend to get sick in early infancy Infants who are viral culture and PCR negative at birth but test positive after seven days have likely acquired HIV by swallowing infected maternal blood or cervical secretions during birth. These infants have a lower viral load and remain asymptomatic for a longer time than those infected in utero.

Diagnosis and Treatment of HIV in Infants

Early awareness of infant HIV status is extremely important. It affects not only the child's potential placement for adoption or outof-home care, but also the course of treatment undertaken. Until recently, the presence of maternal HIV antibodies in an infant's blood made early diagnosis of the infant's own HIV status nearly impossible. Typically, 15 months had to elapse before a child free of symptoms could be declare to be free of HIV. Advances in testing now allow early establishment of an infant's HIV status-the results of three viral cultures or PCRs during the first month of life can prove or rule out HIV infection. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

HIV Infection and Children: A Medical Overview
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.