AIDS has received wide publicity in recent years. It is important to remember that it is still a rare disease in children in this community. Infected children have usually acquired AIDS from their mothers, in particular during pregnancy if she is infected. In the past there was a risk of contracting AIDS through transfusions with contaminated blood. All blood is now carefully screened for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes AIDS). Children infected with HIV are likely to develop AIDS. This causes marked suppression of their immune system, and they are prone to developing life-threatening diseases. There is currently no cure for AIDS, although certain drugs being developed show promise.

The HIV virus is spread by the exchange of human fluids such as blood or semen. It cannot be acquired by direct body contact or by kissing. There is no danger of your child contracting HIV by coming into normal contact with another child or adult who has HIV, unless there is an exchange of bodily fluids.

A family who has a child with AIDS requires expert medical and counselling support. If you need further information, contact your doctor. Each state has organisations which provide both information and support to those with AIDS and their families.


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