Theoretical Aspects of AIDS in Children
Molnar, Eva T.
Headings, Verle E.
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 1996; 15(2): 351-363
It is estimated that world-wide approximately 13 million adults and at least 1 million children already have the HIV virus. Projections call for another twenty or thirty million new infections in the 1990s. Stresses that generally accompany chronic illnesses have been well identified. Also well known are the unique series of concerns that adult AIDS patients and their caretakers experience. Of children who are born to HIV infected mothers, the prevalent mode of transmission of the HIV infection, 30 per cent have been found to be infected and of these approximately 12-15 per cent will develop AIDS. This paper focuses on children at risk in urban environments, where other social problems such as poverty and drug use complicate the picture. It reviews psycho-social issues associated with AIDS, such as, knowledge and "disclosure" of infection status, problems of healthy siblings, "kinship care", problems of professionals engaged with this population, etc. Ethical guidelines as well as recommendations for policy and services are also presented which can protect and assist affected children and their families, and the professionals working with them. For children, there is a unique inter-connectedness, medical, developmental and psychosocial needs at all ages, that has to be taken into account as the illness modifies developmental progress and creates an altered social milieu.
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