1-year-old baby in Cagayan Valley becomes youngest HIV positive patient

The baby's mother reportedly passed on the HIV infection while she was pregnant. The 1-year-old is the 89th case of HIV and AIDS in the region. (Images for representation only. [Source: dreamstime])

In 2015, the World Health Organization stated that the Philippines has the fastest growing HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) epidemic in the world, with the number of people infected daily rising from 4 in 2010 to 25 in 2016.

This January 2017, a 1-year-old in Cagayan Valley tested positive for HIV, becoming the youngest patient in the region and raising the number of HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) cases in the region to 89.

As a Rappler report goes, the child’s mother passed on the infection while she was pregnant. In utero transmission is the most common way children acquire the HIV infection.

Around 85 of these reported cases were infected through sexual intercouse, Dr. Guia Cumillas of the DOH-Cagayan Valley told Rappler. Of this number, Dr. Cumillas continued, 6 patients are in the final stage, which includes the impairment of their immune system, making them susceptible to further possibly fatal infections.


photo: Pixabay

HIV in babies and children

The important thing to note is that babies and children with HIV may appear healthy at first. So, if a mother suspects she is infected, she must get herself and her baby tested immediately.

Here are some signs and symptoms in children to watch out for:

  • Recurrent colds, upset stomach, diarrhea, ear infections
  • Low growth rate
  • Lagging in developmental milestones
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Brain or nervous system deficits manifesting as walking difficulties, seizures, and poor academic performance
photo: Shutterstock

photo: Shutterstock

Complications of untreated HIV in children

The major complication of HIV in children, as with adults, is that it can evolve into AIDS. Another complication of untreated HIV is Tuberculosis and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, which is a commonly occurring contagious herpes virus transmitted through human saliva.

HIV, in its final stages, makes the patient susceptible to opportunistic infections such as Pneumonia, Lung Scarring, and Cytomegalovirus, which are potentially fatal to those with weakened immune systems.

READ: Signs and symptoms of HIV in children you may be missing

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