STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
At the end of 1990, approximately 2786 cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in children younger than 13 years of age had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control. Many more children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but have milder or no apparent disease. The majority of young children have acquired their infection through perinatal transmission from HIV-infected mothers. A small minority have acquired their infection through blood transfusions received before 1985 when routine screening of the blood supply for HIV was initiated. Although many infants with perinatally acquired HIV infection will become symptomatic in the first year of life, a significant, but unknown, number of HIV-infected children are affected mildly or show minimal signs of infection for periods of up to 5 to 10 years.1,2 There is evidence to suggest that antiretroviral treatment with Zidovudine prolongs survival, and it is hoped that early treatment will increase the interval between development of infection and symptoms and reduce the severity of symptoms.3 Thus, children with HIV infection increasingly should be able to benefit from preschool and out-of-home child care programs. The social circumstances that may accompany HIV infection include (1) parents who have died or are too ill to care for their children; or (2) parents who are unable or unwilling to care for their children, most often as the result of continuing drug abuse. These situations frequently lead to the need for foster care or adoptive placement.
This statement makes recommendations regarding
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics