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Human Immunodeficiency Virus

What is it?

HIV/AIDS is an infectious disease caused by a virus that progressively destroys the body’s immune system. Children with the virus may only show few symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Failure to grow and develop well
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Swelling of salivary glands
  • Enlarged liver
  • Frequent infections such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and thrush

Children who are HIV infected do not need to be excluded from others unless the following are present:

  • Fever or behavior change
  • Weeping skin lesions that cannot be covered
  • Bleeding problems

How is it spread?

  • Contact of mucous membranes or opening in the skin with infected blood and body fluids that contain blood, semen, and cervical secretions. This also includes through breastfeeding.
  • Contaminated needles or sharp instruments.
  • Mother-infant transmission before or during birth.
  • Sexual contact.

How to control it?

  • Standard safety precautions should be taken when handling blood or blood-related body fluids. These precautions are described by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Wear disposable or utility gloves that can be sanitized after usage.
  • Place contaminated materials in a plastic bag with a tie.
  • Clean contaminated surfaces with detergent, soap, and water. Rinse with water.
  • Sanitize the clean surface by wetting the surface with diluted domestic bleach (1/4-cup bleach in 1 gallon of water).
  • Leave bleach solution on surface for a minimum of 2 minutes.

What should parents/caregivers do?

Parents/guardians of children who have HIV should be notified immediately if a contagious outbreak of measles or chickenpox occurs at school. Always consult with your child’s physician. Parents do not have to share information regarding the HIV status of their children. If parents do allow information about their child’s HIV status, this information should not be discussed to any staff member without written permission.


Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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