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Antiretroviral Therapy

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Q.1 Is there any known cure for a child who is HIV+?
Q.2 How long can childrenliving with HIV survive?
Q.3 What are antiretroviral drugs?
Q.4 What is treatment adherence and why is it important?
Q.5 How can ART prevent mother to child transmission of HIV?
Q.6 What other kinds of care do people living with HIV need?
Q.7 What is stigma and discrimination against children and people living with or affected by AIDS?
Q.8 What is the impact of stigma and discrimination against children and people living with or affected by AIDS?
Q.9 What are the social protection schemes available for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS?

Q.1 Is there any known cure for a child who is HIV+?
Ans. HIV cannot be cured but can be treated with medicines, called antiretroviral therapy (ART). This is a long life treatment, which improves the survival and quality of life of children living HIV. Because of ART, HIV has become a chronic manageable disease like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Q.2 How long can childrenliving with HIV survive?
Ans. Survival of children has improved significantly with the advent of multi- drug anti- retroviral therapy. Today there are examples of adolescents who acquired HIV at birth has now reached their 20th birthday.
Q.3 What are antiretroviral drugs?
Ans. Antiretroviral drugs are used in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection. They work against HIV by stopping or interfering with the reproduction of virus in the body.
Q.4 What is treatment adherence and why is it important?
Ans. HIV is a very active virus that makes lots of copies of itself that damage the body’s immune cells (CD4 cells). The virus quickly adapts to whatever medicines are being taken as it tries to change itself so that these medicines no longer work. Taking the medicines every day at the right time and in the right way keeps the right levels of the medicines in the body which makes it very hard for the virus to become resistant to the medicines. Missing medication can give the HIV a chance to become resistant to the ARV medicine.
Q.5 How can ART prevent mother to child transmission of HIV?
Ans. If a pregnant woman does have HIV, first the doctors check to see if she needs treatment (ART) herself. If she does need ART then this is a very good way to make sure that her baby will not get the HIV. If she does not need ART herself, the mother will need to have ARV medicines during the pregnancy, the delivery and during breast-feeding to prevent the HIV from being passed to the baby. HIV positive women wanting to get pregnant are advised to do so in consultation with the health care provider to reduce the likelihood of their baby becoming infected. All pregnant women should be tested for HIV and syphilis after informed consent is obtained.
Q.6 What other kinds of care do people living with HIV need?
Ans. Psychosocial support and counseling are extremely important for people living with HIV and AIDS. They have fundamental human rights as that of any other individual and therefore should be treated with respect and without any judgmental attitude, specially from the health care providers and other care givers. In addition to access to HIV treatment, good nutrition, safe water, basic hygiene and other important elements of care can help maintain a high quality of life for a person living with HIV.
Q.7 What is stigma and discrimination against children and people living with or affected by AIDS?
Ans. Stigma is a killer negative perception that people have against children or people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS, making them so scared that they discriminate against people living with or affected by HIV and AIDS.
Stigmatization of HIV positive individuals scares them and prevents them from seeking information, treatment, counseling, and from leading healthy and productive lives. HIV-related stigma, like racism, homophobia, discrimination against women or any type of discriminatory attitude, has no place in the any just and equitable society.
Q.8 What is the impact of stigma and discrimination against children and people living with or affected by AIDS?
Ans. a. Children and adults living with HIV and AIDS: By being rejected by care givers and other people, HIV positive individuals are forced to hide their status, miss out on life- saving treatment, counseling and other forms of support,

b. HIV negative persons: If stigma persists, people are scared even to obtain information for themselves and for their family members. Without accurate information about HIV prevention, treatment and care, everyone is at a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV.
Q.9 What are the social protection schemes available for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS?
Ans. There are some Government Welfare schemes for women and children affected by AIDS. These include widow pension, treatment support fund, Antodaya Anna Yojana etc. For accessing these schemes, affected women and children should contact the nearest government or panchayat offices.