Face HIV with Dr. Watiti
I am HIV-positive but not yet on ARVs because my CD4 count is
still high. I have a seven-month-old baby whom I never breastfed
but was found HIV-positive. The child has been put on Septrin and
I have been advised to have him checked again when he is 18
months old to confirm whether he is still HIV positive or not.
Please explain to me why the child needs to be checked again. Why
was my child put on Septrin? Is there a possibility he will
become HIV negative?
CHILDREN born to HIV-positive mothers often test HIV-positive not
because they are necessarily infected with HIV but because they
carry antibodies against HIV from their mothers.
However, these antibodies disappear from the body after
one-and-half years and these children may then test HIV-negative
if they are not infected with HIV.
Your child was put on Septrin because he was exposed to HIV and
may be infected, hence the need to protect him from opportunistic
infections and malaria which occur when one�s immunity is
However, your child may turn out to be HIV-negative and septrin
stopped when re-tested.
It would be good if the child is tested using the DNA-PCR method
soon so that if he is found HIV-positive, he is started on ARVs
as children infected with HIV but started on ARVs early do better
than those who start late.
The damage done by HIV to the immune system of an infant may lead
to stunting which cannot be reversed.