Medical care for children with HIV is very specialised. You will be referred to a clinic that specialises in paediatric HIV care. You can expect staff to be friendly, welcoming and non-judgemental. They will make sure you have a team of people to support you and your child as they grow, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and also psychologists and social workers if that is useful. If you do not live near a specialist clinic, they will arrange to ‘share care’ with a doctor who lives closer to home.
You will need to make decisions about your child’s treatment after discussions with your paediatrician. There is some debate about the best time to begin antiretroviral treatment for babies – whether to start straight away or to wait until your baby shows immune decline or symptoms or markers that suggest he or she is at risk of HIV progression. Children under one are at risk of progression to AIDS without treatment. Your paediatrician and your HIV doctor should talk with you about all available evidence and how this applies to your baby. If your baby doesn’t commence HIV treatment immediately, they will need to take drugs to prevent common infections.