Living Beyond the Odds: A Psychosocial Perspective on Long-Term Survivors of Pediatric Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

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Pediatric human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease parallels other chronic illnesses in that medical advances are facilitating treatment, and many children infected early in life are living through school age and into adolescence. A medical overview of pediatric HIV, a review of natural history studies, and a recent study of older children provide the basis for a definition of long-term survivors of pediatric HIV infection. The noncategorical approach to examining the common consequences of pediatric chronic illness and a description of unique aspects of HIV disease provide the framework for a discussion of the psychosocial and developmental issues for long-term survivors of pediatric HIV. Clinical case examples from the Children's Hospital AIDS Program are included. This analysis leads to the conclusion that long-term survivors of pediatric HIV, with a few exceptions, are in many ways like their peers with other chronic illness. J Dev Behav Pediatr 15:S12-S17, 1994. Index terms: Human immunodeficiency virus infection, chronic disease, children/adolescents.

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