Hiv infection in children and adolescents pediatric medicine 1

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Hiv infection in children and adolescents pediatric medicine 1Hiv infection in children and adolescents pediatric medicine 1

Human immunodeficiency virus, abbreviated as HIV, is a virus that belongs to the retrovirus family and the lentivirus genus. In most cases, children become infected through their mothers. An untreated HIV infection usually leads to AIDS after a symptom-free period of varying length, usually several years (latency phase). HIV-infected people are also called HIV-positive. The infection with HIV often runs over a long period without complaints and without feeling ill, one feels healthy.

The symptoms of an HIV infection can resemble those of a flu-like infection, which makes the diagnosis of the infection more difficult. Not everyone who is infected by the HIV virus automatically develops AIDS, but HIV infection can progress to AIDS – sometimes only after several years have elapsed.

HIV is transmitted through contact via body fluids:

– Blood – Semen – Vaginal secretions – Breast milk and cerebrospinal fluid (brain and spinal cord fluid)

transmitted. Potential entry sites are fresh, still bleeding wounds and mucous membranes. If further severe infections with certain pathogens such as pneumonia, neurological diseases or certain types of cancer occur, this is referred to as full-blown AIDS.

Diagnosis and therapy

Possible signs of an incipient immune deficiency can be fatigue, loss of appetite, headaches, skin rashes and usually painless lymph nodes in the neck and/or groin area. Even without symptoms, the infected person can transmit HIV to others. The HIV test is still negative at this time. Antibodies can only be detected in the blood one to three months after infection. HIV infections develop very differently. Symptoms may or may not occur. There are often long periods without physical symptoms between individual phases of the disease. During this time, the immune system manages to keep the HIV pathogens in check. HIV is still not curable. Today, thanks to antiretroviral (effective against retroviruses) drugs, it is possible to extend the phases of the disease.

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