Miller Children’s offers comprehensive evaluation and condition management for infants, children and expectant mothers who are at risk, or infected with HIV/AIDS. This comprehensive care includes HIV testing and counseling, clinical drug and vaccine trials, education, psychological care and medical management of the condition.
Many children who are at risk, HIV-positive or have AIDS are immunocompromised making them more susceptible to illness. The Bickerstaff Center promotes preventative treatment to ensure that these patients can lead as normal of a life as possible. The Bickerstaff Center care team ensures vaccinations are up to date, patients have good dental health and that healthy lifestyle choices are made, such as eating well and exercising.
Neurological symptoms can often be one of the first signs that HIV infection has progressed to AIDS in children. Children at risk, or infected with HIV/AIDS often have impaired brain growth, decreasing their chances of reaching developmental milestones and honing their fine motor skills. Treating HIV-infected children with anti-retroviral therapy can halt and possibly even reverse neurological damage caused by the virus.
There are many different types of anti-retroviral drugs available to treat patients. The Bickerstaff care team discusses the correct individualized treatment plan and selects the right combination of different anti-retroviral drugs in order to suppress the viral disease and infection. Through IMPAACT, children also can be enrolled in clinical trials to discover and track HIV treatment in children. Patients have extensive follow-up care and are monitored on a monthly basis.
The prenatal HIV program ensures that pregnant moms affected with HIV, minimizes and prevents HIV mother-to-child transmission. The women are put on an anti-retroviral therapy and can be enrolled in clinical trials through IMPAACT. The Bickerstaff Center follows up with these moms periodically to assess their needs on a case by case basis. Promoting a healthy lifestyle is also encouraged.
As of June 2012, there hasn’t been a single perinatal HIV transmissions among mothers followed in the HIV program. The Bickerstaff Center’s HIV-infected pregnant mothers have been delivering healthy, HIV-negative babies since 1995.