Age: how do children use ART?
HIV treatment for children is similar to adults, but there are two main differences.
- Young children are usually monitored by their CD4 percentage (CD4%) rather that the CD4 count. A CD4% of 25 to 30% is similar to an adult CD4 count of about 500.
- Some adult drugs are not yet available for young children –so there are fewer choices for ART.
The immune system and drug absorption can be different in babies, children and adults. Children of all ages need be treated by a paediatric doctor with experience in looking after HIV positive children.
There are separate treatment guidelines for children. However, they tend to be updated less frequently than adult guidelines. It is therefore important to be aware of changes in adult care that might be just as relevant for children.
For more information about children and HIV, visit the Children with HIV Association (CHIVA) and PENTA web sites:
Last updated: 1 October 2019.