Kids born with HIV growing up well

By Arthur Nead

(PhysOrg.com) -- Once facing an almost certain death sentence, most children born with HIV are now faring well into adolescence and adulthood, according to a newly published study co-authored by Tulane infectious diseases expert Dr. Russell Van Dyke. The study was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

“About two thirds of these kids, at this point, don't have virus detectable in the blood,” says Van Dyke, professor and chief of the section of pediatric . “While they are still infected and they are not cured, it’s surprising how well they're doing, considering what they’ve been through.”

The Pediatric /AIDS Cohort Study is tracking the effects and complications of a lifetime of infection and its treatment. “We’re not seeing the deaths we used to see due to infections, but we’re starting to worry about longer-term complications,” Van Dyke says. “Some of these complications may be related to the HIV itself, or some may be related to the medications these kids are on.”

The complications that Van Dyke looks at in the study range from coronary
artery disease to neurological and cognitive problems. He says that analyzing the long-term prognosis for these patients is a “nice problem to have,” because it indicates that their disease can be treated as chronic, more akin to diabetes than cancer. Van Dyke expects many of the patients in his study to have a normal or near normal life span.

“These kids are doing very well,” Van Dyke says. “They’re going to school and doing all of the things that kids should do. Hopefully, they will be living 50 or 60 years or more, so what’s going to happen 40 years from now is the real concern.”

The other good news, according to Van Dyke, is that cases of newborns with HIV are becoming increasingly rare.  Mother-to-baby transmission of HIV has been nearly eradicated because of advances in treatment.

Related Stories

Insight into volcanic eruptions, courtesy of space

date Oct 15, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists are crediting satellite imagery with helping to predict where volcanic eruptions could strike. It is well known that earthquakes can stress Earth’s crust and trigger subsequent ...

Study finds sick kids have fewer friends

date Dec 07, 2010

A new study reveals that sick teens are more isolated than other kids, but they do not necessarily realize it and often think their friendships are stronger than they actually are.

Recommended for you

HIV reservoirs remain obstacles to cure

date May 19, 2015

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has proven lifesaving for people infected with HIV; however, the medications are a lifelong necessity for most HIV-infected individuals and present practical, logistical, economic ...

Microclinics help keep Kenyan HIV patients in care

date May 18, 2015

A team led by researchers from UC San Francisco, Organic Health Response, and Microclinic International is reporting results of a study that showed significant benefits of microclinics—an innovative intervention ...

'Redesigned' antibodies may control HIV

date May 18, 2015

With the help of a computer program called "Rosetta," researchers at Vanderbilt University have "redesigned" an antibody that has increased potency and can neutralize more strains of the AIDS-causing human ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.