Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

HIV in late childhood and adolescence a growing problem

13.03.2007
Scientists have highlighted for the first time the plight of the growing number of older children and adolescents living with undiagnosed HIV and AIDS in Africa. In a study published today in Clinical Infectious Diseases, Wellcome Trust researchers claim that delay in recognising this problem means that the needs of this important group are not being met.

It is estimated that half a million babies were infected with HIV during birth or breastfeeding in 2006, passed down from their mothers. It was assumed that their chances of survival to adulthood were negligible. However, a new study, carried out by researchers based at the Connaught Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe, shows that older children and adolescent with AIDS have all of the features that would be expected from long-term survivors of infant HIV infection.

“The findings are quite extraordinary,” says Dr Liz Corbett, a Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellow in Tropical Medicine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, based in Zimbabwe. “The phenomenon of long-term survival is poorly recognised and until recently has been almost positively resisted by the international HIV community because of the strongly held assumptions that HIV in late childhood is very unusual, and that survival from birth to adolescence with HIV was so unlikely without treatment as to be negligible. This just doesn’t fit with what we see in Zimbabwe and hear from neighbouring counties.

"It is now being realised that these earlier assumptions were wrong and that instead somewhere around 1 in 10 infected infants – and perhaps even as high as 1 in 4 – may survive into late childhood or early adolescence without diagnosis or treatment.”

However, late diagnosis is likely to have a significant effect on their future health and long term survival, warn the researchers.

“Early diagnosis of HIV is very important,” says Dr Rashida Ferrand, a Wellcome Trust Research Training Fellow. “A delayed diagnosis means that patients have a much higher risk of developing serious opportunistic infections and may have significant and irreversible damage to vital organs such as heart and lung as well as a higher risk of death. We also know that antiretroviral therapies (ART) are less effective if started in patients with advanced disease.”

Dr Ferrand and Dr Corbett argue that there is a need for more services aimed at older children and adolescents to provide accessible and sympathetic HIV testing and treatment services, counselling and support, and drug formulations for low-weight individuals whose growth may have been stunted by undiagnosed HIV.

“Because of the previous assumption that HIV-infected infants did not survive to adolescence, no concerted effort has been made to provide diagnostic or treatment programmes for this age-group, despite an epidemic that is becoming increasingly obvious to anyone providing routine medical care in Southern or East Africa,” says Dr Corbett.

It is important to recognise that these children may have already suffered terribly from the indirect effects of HIV, such as orphanhood, impoverishment and the psychological trauma of prolonged illness in parents and siblings, argues Dr Ferrand.

“Simply caring for these patients in existing services is not ideal because they have problems unique to their age-group and circumstances, over and above coping with their own illness,” she says. “These include a lack of awareness of their own diagnosis, their emerging puberty and sexuality, caring for sick parents and coping with the social and economic consequences of orphanhood. Hence, provision of effective HIV care and treatment will require additional support and special services to deal with these problems.”

The researchers believe that adolescents would benefit from earlier diagnosis of HIV status, help to parents or guardians who may be reluctant to tell the child what their problem is; adolescent-focused support to ensure adherence to treatment regimes; a focus on the chronic problems associated with HIV (such as short stature and delayed puberty) and the complications of antiretroviral therapy; and support for those undergoing puberty or who are sexually active, such as counselling on prevention of transmission and contraception, and disclosure to sexual partners.

Craig Brierley | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies
30.03.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht 'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine
30.03.2017 | University of Nebraska-Lincoln

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>