HIV-TC in children and infants: selected resources

About these resources

The HIV infection rate amongst children and orphans is increasing in many countries worldwide. At the end of 2005, there were an estimated 2.3 million children living with HIV worldwide; over half a million are newly infected each year. 15 million children were orphaned due to AIDS in 2004. The majority of HIV-infected children will die prior to their 2nd year of life without access to life-saving drugs including anti-retroviral therapy.

HIV testing and counselling is a vital to ensure access to prevention interventions and a critical gateway to treatment, care and support. Given the pandemic's current and projected impact on infants and children, increasing their access to adequate diagnostic HIV testing and counselling services is essential and will help to:

  • ensure early identification of infants and children who are HIV-infected as a first step in securing their treatment and care;
  • identify HIV-exposed infants and children who are uninfected and may benefit from intensified follow-up, care and prevention measures that will help to ensure they remain uninfected;
  • identify those in need of post-exposure prophylaxis
  • decrease potential stigma, discrimination and psychological distress for those children who prove to be HIV-uninfected; increase the chances of adoption for orphans; and facilitate life-planning for parents and/or children who are HIV-infected;
  • assist in the effective use of essential resources by targeting ART to those who need treatment.

At present, providing HIV testing for children may present unique challenges for policy-makers, programme managers and healthcare providers. This section of the testing and counselling toolkit includes selected resources relevant to providing HIV testing and counselling services to infants and young children. Tools and resources in the following topic areas are included: strategy and policy documents , monitoring and evaluation, child-focused counselling, informed consent and confidentiality, clinical diagnosis, PMTCT and selected case studies.


HIV/AIDS and the rights of the child

CRC/GC/2003/3 Committee on the rights of the children, Thirty-second session, 13-31 January 2003. General comment No. 3 (2003) HIV/AIDS and the rights of the child

Young children and HIV/AIDS: Mapping the field

This paper is one of the first in a dedicated ‘Early Childhood and HIV/AIDS’ sub-series of our long- standing ‘Working Papers in ECD’ series. The purpose of the sub-series is to generate work that responds to emerging needs, or that present information, experiences and ideas to inform all those concerned with young children impacted by HIV/AIDS – including ourselves.

UNAIDS Global Reference Group on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights

Current and future clinical trials of preventive HIV vaccines embody several ethical concerns that may also have human rights implications. The ethical concerns fall into three categories: 1) questions relating to “standard of care” for trial participants; 2) questions relating to the design of future vaccine trials; and 3) concerns about access to successful products of vaccine research. The “standard of care” issue is the most pressing of the above three, given that there is, at the present time, no proven, efficacious, preventive vaccine.

Paediatric HIV infection and AIDS

More than 1500 children become infected with HIV every day. The vast majority (more than 90%) acquire the infection from their mother. Children may acquire HIV during pregnancy, labour, delivery or, after birth, through breastfeeding. Among infected infants who are not breastfed, about two-thirds of cases of mother-to-child transmission occur around the time of delivery and the rest during pregnancy.

The Well-Being of Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Lusaka, Zambia, and Gitarama Province, Rwanda: Findings from a Study

In sub-Saharan Africa an estimated 12 million children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS (UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID, 2004). Many more children live with one or more chronically ill parent. Despite the recognition of the magnitude and significant health, economic, social, and psychological consequences of this problem, and increasing attention and resources devoted to these children, few evidence-based answers are available to such basic questions as “which children are in the greatest need of assistance?,” “what interventions are most effective?,” and “which approaches are most appropriate in the different settings in which AIDS epidemics are seen?”

Voluntary Counseling and Testing Toolkit

The VCT Toolkit is a collection of resources for developing, expanding and maintaining VCT services in resource-constrained countries. The toolkit is intended for governments, development partners and public- and private-sector organizations that establish HIV counseling and testing programs and services. Browse the components of the toolkit below.