Annotation: Paediatric HIV Infection



HIV and AIDS have made a huge global impact, permeating the social, cultural, and economic fabric of almost all nations. The first cases of HIV infection in children were reported in the late 1980s and numbers have since risen steadily throughout the world, with some of the poorest and least developed countries experiencing the highest prevalence. Combined drug regimes have changed the course of HIV-related illness and brought increased survival to those for whom treatment is available. With this, however, have come fresh concerns relating to drug resistance, treatment adherence, and the risk of second-generation vertical transmission as HIV-infected children now survive into adulthood and beyond. The psychological literature has addressed issues such as the direct effect of HIV on child development, social and cultural attitudes, family functioning and support, affected children and orphans of HIV-infected parents, sexual health education, disclosure of diagnosis, and long-term clinical management. The outcome for those living in wealthier countries is optimistic, but the spread of this virus in the rest of the world and its impact on family life and social and political systems remains of great concern.