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Can my HIV-positive child get vaccines and other questions answered

SAMAA Health busts some common HIV myths

SAMAA | - Posted: Feb 11, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Feb 11, 2021 | Last Updated: 8 months ago

Experts do not advise stopping medical treatment or preventive measures for any other disease in children with HIV.

All EPI vaccines should be given to any child who tests positive for HIV, said Dr Ayaz Hussain from UNICEF Sindh at a recent workshop in Karachi on media reporting on HIV.

Vaccines in the Expanded Programme of Immunisation cover childhood tuberculosis, diarrhoea, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, tetanus and XDR typhoid.

Why isn’t there a vaccine for HIV?

HIV is an incredibly complex virus which mutates rapidly and often, says Dr Rajwal Khan UNAIDS strategic information advisor.

Currently, there is no vaccine for HIV but scientists are working on it, he added. To date, more than 40 vaccines were developed and tested, but none proved effective.

Is HIV the same as AIDS?

No. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), is not the same as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

HIV is a virus that can cause infection. AIDS is a syndrome of multiple conditions that can sometimes (not always) develop due to HIV infection. HIV infection is treatable, AIDS is not.

Can I stop my HIV treatment?

No, treatment for HIV is lifelong. It involves taking medicines called antiretroviral drugs that keep the HIV virus load low in the body. As long as the virus is suppressed in the body, the person can lead a normal, healthy life. 

Can I get HIV from touching an HIV positive person?

No, touching, shaking hands, hugging or even eating with someone who has HIV will not give you HIV. HIV does not spread through mosquitoes or any other animal. 

HIV can be transmitted by unprotected sex, injecting drugs, reuse of medical needles and syringes, blood transfusion, organ transplants. An infected mother can transmit the virus to her child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. 

What is the HIV situation in Ratodero right now?

Screening and treatment of HIV is ongoing at Ratodero in Larkana.

According to the most recent statistics, close to 4,300 people have been screened and around 1,600 were found positive. Among these, 1,155 are children, as of February 8.

They are receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) at the ART centre established there. Communities are being given awareness sessions and experts say the HIV stigma among the people there has reduced considerably.

 
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