U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Pediatric HIV and AIDS

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a disease that destroys cells that are critical to a healthy immune system. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is diagnosed when HIV has weakened the immune system enough that the body has difficulty fighting disease and infections. In 2008, an estimated 182 children younger than 13 years of age were diagnosed with HIV,1 and 41 were reported to have AIDS.

Racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2008, four times as many HIV cases were reported among non- Hispanic Black children as among non-Hispanic White Children (121 and 32 cases, respectively). Non-Hispanic Black children accounted for over 65 percent of cases, but represent only about 15 percent of the total U.S. population in this age group.

The number of new pediatric AIDS cases has declined substantially since 1992, when an estimated 894 new cases were reported. A major factor in this decline is the increasing use of antiretroviral therapy before, during, and after pregnancy to reduce perinatal transmission of HIV. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new educational materials and other resources in 2004 to promote universal prenatal HIV testing. Through 2008, an estimated 9,349 AIDS cases have occurred in children younger than 13 years of age in the United States. Pediatric AIDS cases represent less than one percent of the more than one million U.S. cases ever reported.

1 Includes persons with a diagnosis of HIV infection regardless of stage of disease at diagnosis; therefore, this includes persons who are first diagnosed with HIV at the same time they are diagnosed with AIDS.

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