HIV infected children should be treated like all other children, i.e., they should receive education together with other children of their own age groups, there should be no restrictions placed on their participation in school activities and sports, and they should receive the love and support of family members and teachers.
When ill, children should be treated for their illness and should receive nutritional support and care and counselling when required and should return fully to their school activities as soon as it is possible. Counselling and support should be provided for family members and carers who should be educated on the basic principles of safe practices and preventing infections from occurring through simple measures such as hygienic food preparation and hand washing. Ill children may require physiotherapy that should be provided by experts as well as by family members and carers.
School-age children who are unable to attend school due to illness should receive some form of education at home and should be encouraged to participate in playgroups. Play therapy and educational activities at home provide stimulation for ill children who can learn to live their lives to the fullest despite the illness. All HIV infected children should be assessed regularly and should receive antiretroviral therapy if available.
Family members, clinicians and supporting counsellors should have ongoing discussions on how and when to begin the process of disclosure of status to the HIV-infected child. The delicate balance between providing important information of one’s condition, and the prevalent stigma and discrimination within the community should be maintained.