It’s a common misconception that children aren’t affected by HIV, when in fact, 3.34 million children live with the virus worldwide. Have you had your family tested? If not, take advantage of National Testing Day to get tested and learn more about HIV and AIDS.
What is HIV? HIV is a virus that causes a progressive deterioration of the immune system—your body becomes unable to fight some infections and diseases. While it is considered a sexually transmitted infection, it can also be transmitted by transfusions of contaminated blood, sharing of contaminated needles/syringes and from mom to baby during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.
Why should my young child get tested? If there is a chance that your child has come into contact with contaminated blood, bodily fluids or needles/syringes, they should be tested for HIV. In addition, if mom has tested positive for HIV (or if there is a chance she could test positive), your child should be tested. The virus can be spread from mom to baby.
Why should my teen get tested? It is recommended everyone ages 15 to 65 should be screened for HIV infection. If you would like help in speaking to your teen about sexuality and dating, please contact FACES for a “How To Be An Askable Parent” book.
What if the test is positive? If your child’s test comes back positive, you have multiple options in order to maintain optimum health. Early treatment is preferable but not always necessary. Our HIV clinic serves the entire family, including infants, youth, pregnant women and adults. Request an appointment to meet with a physician.
How are AIDS and HIV related? AIDS is the most advanced stages of an HIV infection. It is defined by the occurrence specific opportunistic infections or when an individual’s CD4 T-cell count drops below 200.
What can you tell me about Nationwide Children’s Hospital FACES Clinic? At our clinic, we treat more than 400 HIV+ patients, providing comprehensive care to children, youth, and families. We have a brand new HIV+ support group for women starting soon, which will focus on a different topic at each meeting, creating an informative, comfortable environment for our patients.
When is testing available at your clinic? Nationwide Children’s Hospital FACES Clinic offers free HIV testing every day from 8:00 AM- 2:00 PM for ages 13 and over. Tests are confidential and appointments are not needed so stop in today! Free testing is also offered at community events.
If there is a chance that you or your child could test positive for HIV, don’t wait. Testing is free, painless and confidential. Take control of your family’s health and find out your status in a matter of minutes.
Kimberly Bates, MD, is a member of Nationwide Children’s Hospital Section of Primary Care Pediatrics and a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Bates is also director of the FACES Clinic for children and families with HIV/AIDS.
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