The transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from infected mothers to their infants has been well established. The majority of infants so infected are born to women who have acquired HIV through IV drug use or through sexual contact with IV drug-using partners. Some of these mothers are unable to care for their infants. In addition, many infected mothers become seriously ill or die, leaving children who must be cared for by others. Thus, many infants and children who are infected or are at high risk for infection may require placement in an adoptive or foster care setting. The HIV-infected infant or child places a serious burden on any family. This burden, when anticipated, may make adoption and foster care placement exceedingly difficult. However, such family-based care is clearly in the best interest of the child.
CARE FOR THE CHILD WITH ACQUIRED IMMUNODEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS)
If an infant or child is known to be infected with HIV or is already ill with AIDS, what are some of the implications for the care givers, including adopting or foster cane families?
First, the family must bear the physical and emotional burden of caring for a child who will require ongoing medical treatment, will suffer from intermittent bouts of increasingly severe illness, and, in most cases, will ultimately die. A majority of these children can be expected to have developmental delay and many may also show behavioral regression, resulting in increased care-giving demands.
A second issue is the fear of spread of the viral infection to family members, friends, and classmates.
- Copyright © 1989 by the American Academy of Pediatrics