All HIV-exposed infants should be managed as follows unless appropriate PCR testing excludes HIV infection:
- All the routine immunisations should be given.
- Growth should be assessed by regularly plotting the infant’s weight on a Road-to-Health Card. The early detection of poor weight gain is especially important.
- Ensure that the infant is receiving an adequate diet. Provide vitamins, especially vitamin A. This is best given as a multivitamin syrup.
- Co-trimoxazole should be started at 6 weeks.
- Signs of HIV infection should be looked for at each clinic visit. The early diagnosis and effective treatment of opportunistic infections can give these children longer and better lives.
- The correct use of antiretroviral therapy is most important in children with AIDS.
- It is very important to also provide the correct HIV management to the mother and other infected members of the family.
There are great advantages in identifying HIV-infected infants as soon as possible with PCR testing. Infants who are not infected with HIV can be followed at a well baby clinic.