Orphanages, not families, treat HIV+ kids better: Study

Ahead of World AIDS Day on Saturday, a study has revealed that children living in orpahnages are better equipped physically and emotionally to tackle HIV as compared to those part of extended families.

The survey by the paediatric department of Sion Hospital compared five HIV+ children with an average age of 8 living with extended families and five with an average age of 10 living in an orphanage.

"We were surprised to find children in the orphanage were better looked after. They were better groomed to understand the illness and take charge of medication," said Mamta Manglani, HOD.

"Children living with extended families were discriminated against and showed signs of social isolation," she said. The children studied are patients from different parts of the country being treated at Sion Hospital ART Centre.

The study will now be extended to 100 children to understand implications of environment among HIV+ orphans. Meanwhile, even as national figures showed a drop of about 50 per cent in fresh HIV cases this year, mother-to-child transmission was a worry, officials said.

Hospitals have registered a 9-10 per cent rate of transmission, much above the ideal 2 per cent.

"The only way to beat mother-to-child transmission is early detection of the disease. With proper treatment at the right time, transmission can be prevented," said Amol Wankhede, joint director dat Maharashtra State AIDS Control Society.

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