Skip to content

    HIV & AIDS Health Center

    Select An Article

    HIV and AIDS in Children

    Font Size

    Symptoms of HIV/AIDS in Children

    Many babies and children living with HIV are known or suspected to have the infection because their mothers are known to be infected. However, sometimes infection is not suspected until a child develops symptoms. Symptoms of HIV infection vary by age and individual child, but following are some of the more common symptoms:

    As HIV infection becomes more advanced, children start to develop opportunistic infections. These are infections that rarely affect healthy people but can be deadly for people whose immune systems aren't working properly. Common opportunistic infections related to HIV include:

    • Pneumocystis pneumonia -- a fungal infection of the lungs
    • Serious infection due to cytomegalovirus (CMV)
    • A condition of lung scarring called lymphocytic interstitial pneumonitis (LIP)
    • Oral thrush or severe diaper rash due to Candida, a yeast infection

    Treatments for Child HIV and AIDS

    Due to improved prevention and treatment, AIDS-related deaths among children around the world are declining.

    Treatment for HIV and AIDS is essentially the same for children as for adults: a combination of antiviral medications to keep the virus from becoming resistant to any one drug. However, there are special considerations when treating children. Some HIV drugs are not available in a liquid form that babies and small children can swallow and some drugs cause serious side effects in children.

    Even if young children show no signs or symptoms of their HIV infection, doctors may choose to start treatment to improve their general heath and increase long-term survival. Doctors often decide whether to treat based on lab tests for viral load (the amount of virus in a bodily fluid) and the level of white blood cells (immune cells) called CD4 T-cells affected by HIV infection.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    How much do you know?
    contemplative man
    What to do now.
    Should you be tested?
    HIV under microscope
    What does it mean?
    HIV AIDS Screening
    man opening condom wrapper
    HIV AIDS Treatment
    Discrimination Stigma
    Treatment Side Effects
    grilled chicken and vegetables
    obese man standing on scale
    cold sore