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Iv Commonwealth Congress On Diarrhoea And Malnutrition; Karachi, Pakistan; Meeting Of The Commonwealth Association Of Pediatric Gastroenterology And Nutrition; November 21-24, 1997

THE IMPACT OF HIV INFECTION ON CHILD HEALTH: THE AFRICAN SITUATION

Wittenberg, D. F.

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Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: August 1998 - Volume 27 - Issue 2 - p 244
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Abstract P7

By the year 2000, more than 75% of all HIV infected children world-wide will have come from Africa, where 15% of HIV infections occur by vertical transmission in 22-43% of pregnancies in infected women. Most infections occur in the intrapartum period, but breast feeding is associated with significant risk of transmission.

The progression from HIV infection to AIDS is more rapid in African infants and children than it is in First World children or in adults. The immunosuppressive effect of poor nutrition or repeated intercurrent infections may contribute.

The impact of paediatric HIV infection is felt in infant and child morbidity and mortality indicators, but additionally extends into the whole society. AIDS orphans are faced with emotional, physical, social and economic deprivation.

The direct and indirect costs of HIV infection are staggeringly high. The tragic consequence is that less resources are available for preventive and promotive health services. Many countries can not afford the high costs of strategies to reduce the risk of mother-infant transmission.

A difficult policy dilemma in Africa concerns the extent to which the public should be informed about the risk of breast milk transmission, where availability, safety and nutritional adequacy of substitute feeding can not be guaranteed.

Section Description

P = Plenary

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