Experts emphasize Prevention and innovative Care strategies for Pediatric HIV Management

The Pediatric AIDS Treatment for Africa (PATA) East African forum ended on October 13, 2010 at Hotel Africana in Kampala, with Experts emphasizing Scaling up prevention of Vertical Transmission of HIV; development of novel strategies to dealing with challenges of care in peadiatrics as well as discussions on sero-status disclosure in children – among other things.

 TASO's Goret Nakabugo (R) and Damulira Christopher talking about the HEADSS                                   
The well attended forum that started on October 11, 2010, pulled participants from leading pediatric HIV/AIDS organizations in the region and experts from South Africa, UNICEIF, WHO, etc. to discuss the Status of pediatric HIV care and forge a way forward.

Dr Dorothy Mbori Ndacha from UNICEF Kenya, emphasized the need to prevent vertical transmission of HIV, saying that we have the means to that. “Let us aim to put people in pediatric HIV Treatment out of business [because] we can have HIV negative children.” Said Dr. Ndachi.

TASO, Baylor College and Naguru teenage Center combined to discuss the importance of positive prevention amongst adolescents and the need for innovative adolescents’ friendly services. A Guest speaker from TASO shared about the exhilarating topic: “Hidden Agenda;” where the Providers discover the hidden Agenda of Adolescents by use of HEADSS strategy (Home Education Action, Drugs/depression Sexuality/Suicide).

Meanwhile Dr Leone Levin (South Africa) a leading practitioner on ART in children said there was no reason why children with HIV should die because they respond very well to antiretroviral Therapy. He said available studies show that less than 7% of children initiated on ART get adverse side effects. He emphasized that less than 7% of children get Adverse ART side effects and added that all we need to do is get early diagnosis.
Rose Nassaba from the University of Maryland School of medicine, emphasized the importance of supported disclosure at the facility. She said it was important to support a parent disclose the child’s status in a counseling room and start dealing with emotional issues there and then.