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'Short Lag' Seen In Kids' HIV Treatments

New Pediatric HIV Treatments Not Always Used Immediately, Study Shows

'Surprising' and 'Disappointing' Data

It was "surprising" that older and combined treatment medications were still given to less than 15% of children in 2003, says Yogev.

Another finding -- that only half of the HIV-infected children born from 2000 to 2003 were given the anti-HIV drug AZT in the first six weeks of life -- was "disappointing," says Yogev. Giving the medication to pregnant mothers and their newborns reduces the risk of transmission.

In the late 1980s, Yogev attended the funerals of his pediatric patients with HIV/AIDS. Now, Yogev says he's been attending their high school graduations.

"There are probably many unknown issues that will appear as patients live longer and use more complex regimens," he says. Such issues may also be seen in children treated in other parts of the world, he says, calling for more research.

When to Start

Another study in the journal showed that HIV-infected 3-year-olds had improved survival and decreased early HIV progression when advanced therapy was started at a very early age (younger than 3 months old).

That study was small, says Yogev. "Unfortunately, it remains unclear when to initiate ART in children," he says.

If a woman knows she's HIV-positive, treatment may help protect her children even before she gives birth. "Physicians need to be more vigilant in offering HIV testing to all pregnant women, including those who do not receive prenatal care," says Yogev.

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