27 July 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas
A STUDY carried out by the paediatric department of Sassoon General Hospital has revealed that HIV/AIDS related mortality has a negative impact on health and socio–economic life of HIV orphans. There is a high incidence of development delay, repeated hospitalisation, dropping out of schools, severe malnutrition and incomplete immunisation incomplete immunisation among the HIV positive orphans, the study says.
The department had sent its study in the form of a poster ‘HIV/AIDS OrphansThe silent sufferers’ to the international AIDS conference at Vienna recently. Dr Aarti Kinikar, associate professor and head of the Department of Paediatrics, Sassoon General atrics, Sassoon General Hospital, told The Indian Express that there was a need for a comprehensive approach in dealing with HIV/AIDS families. Along with the Society of Friends of Sassoon General Hospital, a support group of caretakers of the HIV orphans has been set up.
The study was conducted among 55 HIV orphans and 55 orphans who did not have HIV. The children were mainly from slum areas of Pune and rural parts of the district who visited Sassoon ‘s paediatric department for treatment.
According to Kinikar, the immunization status of children without HIV was better than that of the HIV orphans. Of the 55 HIV orphans, 11 were staying with relatives, 31 lived with their mothers as the fathers died of AIDS while 13 children lived with their fathers.
Twenty six girls below 18 years of age were married and were in age were married and were in fected with HIV. There were 16 girls in 18–21 age group and were infected with the virus after marriage. Among the HIV positive fathers, 32 youngsters were between 18 and 21 years of age.
While most orphaned children are below five years of age, more than half of the caretakers, in cluding grandparents, were illiterate. Besides, they have their own problems like diabetes and cataract. Lack of basic knowledge of HIV care leads to poor immunization and nutrition care, said Kinikar who has done the study along with S P Adhav, S J Bothra and V M Mave. The support group for caretakers meets once a month and provides guidance regarding nutrition and check–up of HIV orphans, said Kinikar.
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