AIDS woes

Published: Thursday 31 July 1997

Eighty per cent of the AIDS-infected children in India are likely to die within five years of the contraction of the disease, if steps are not taken to cure it. At present, there are 3,551 AIDS cases in India.

Minister of state for health and family welfare, Renuka Chaudhury, revealed this at a recent press conference, while launching an AIDS campaign. The campaign is being called "Children living in a world of AIDS". Chaudhury said that of the total number, while 46 per cent children were infected through the 'mother to the foetus' route, 42 per cent acquired AIDS owing to blood transfusion and 12 per cent by breast-feeding.

"This is a field which has been ignored," said the minister. "It should be addressed before it assumes epidemic proportions," she added. Chaudhury said that AIDS-infected children should not only be provided with medical care, but also with adequate social support systems. The diagnosis of paediatric HIV infections have been problematic for experts as standard testing methods work only after the infant is 18 months old.

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