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HIV and AIDS

What Treatments Are Used For Children?

03/17/2003

Question:

How are children with AIDS treated differently than adults with AIDS? Are there different treatments for children? Thank you.

Answer:

Children and adults do have some differences in how they are affected by AIDS and HIV but the principles of treatment are very similar. Generally, we use the same medications (like AZT, indinavir and Nelfinavir) but at different doses. In children, doses of medications are given based upon their weight. In adults, we use standard doses. In both children and adults, we give 3 medications typically from different classes of medications. Meaning that the medicines we give usually work a couple of different ways to stop the virus. This allows the medicines to work without the virus figuring a way around them. We call this HAART or highly active antiretroviral therapy. The biggest difference is in preventing infections. The guides we use in adults and children differ. For example, we start pneumocystis pneumonia prevention in adults when their T-cell count is less 200 but in children we start it at a much higher level because their immune system is still developing. 

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Response by:

Carl   Fichtenbaum, MD Carl Fichtenbaum, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati