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Children should know their HIV status before eight years - experts

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by ByaseL, Jun 6, 2009.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jun 6, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    Evelyn Lirri
    Parents who give birth to HIV/Aids positive babies usually find it hard to tell the children about their status. But experts advise that the children be told, as early as eight years, writes Evelyn Lirri

    Ruth Kabahumuza discovered she was HIV/Aids positive in 1998 during one of her antennal visits. She was two months pregnant then. The news came as a shock to her because it was one of the least things she expected would happen to her at the time.

    “I started shedding tears, the counselor talked to me and requested me to come with my husband for blood test,” she said.
    When Ms Kabahumuza told her husband about her status, he told her to take care of her sickness.
    “He told me, I am sorry I cannot go and test myself. If you are HIV/Aids positive, please go and treat yourself, I am not ready to go there (to be tested),” she narrates.

    Her husband, who refused to test for HIV/Aids passed away in 1999. Even then, she said he refused to go to hospital, lived in denial and preferred to be treated from home.
    At the time of giving birth, Ms Kabahumuza was given Niverapine-a drug that helps to prevent mother-to-child transmission. But unfortunately, she still gave birth to an HIV positive baby girl.

    Ms Kabahumuza narrated her ordeal on Monday at Mulago Hospital, during a ceremony where a new Sh2 billion centre that will provide a comprehensive Aids treatment for families affected and infected with HIV/Aids was opened.

    The Zayed Makerere University Johns Hopkins University Family Centre will house a clinic and a nutritional centre under the Makerere University-Johns Hopkins University Research Collaboration (MU-JHU), which has been conducting HIV/Aids prevention research, medical care and training since 1988 with the aim of increasing access to anti retroviral therapy and providing family based comprehensive HIV/Aids services.

    The facility was opened by State Minister for General Duties Richard Nduhura. The function was attended by Dr Nelson Ssewankambo, the Principal Makerere College of Health Sciences, Dr Edward Ddumba, the executive director Mulago Hospital and Mr Sam Akorimo, the University Secretary Makerere University.
    With the onset of better and accessible treatment, many children born with HIV/Aids have lived to see their adult life. But the challenge many of the parents of these children face is how to disclose to the children that they are HIV/Aids positive.

    Ms Kabahumuza said initially it was not easy but because her daughter, now 11 years, demanded to know why she was taking drugs every day yet her siblings did not do so, she gained the courage and told her.

    The child learnt about her status in 2006 when she was nine years old.
  2. i

    inno New Member

    Jun 12, 2009
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    I thing age shouldn't be used to decide when should the child be informed about her HIV status if she is infected. eight years is too early for some children an too late for others! what should betaken into account is the child's ability to understand what it means being HIV positive and the ability to withstand the psychosocial trauma that may follow! Not every parent is able to give proper information required to make the child understand! most parents will need assistance from the psychologist. So, I say revealing HIV status to the child should be indvidualised and not dictated by age.