Antiviral Therapy in Paediatrics: Foresight 2017-2020. Our call to action on the World AIDS Day.

01 Dec, 2017

On November 27-28th Penta, with the support of ViiV Healthcare S.r.l., organized the congress Antiviral Therapy in Paediatrics: Foresight 2017-2020 in Florence, Italy.

The event addressed the innovative aspects of the antiretroviral therapy, with a particular focus on new drugs and therapeutical strategies, in the light of the latest knowledge on virology and immunology. Paediatricians and infectious diseases experts in clinical research and care for children with chronic and acute infectious diseases discussed the most sensitive issues regarding HIV infection in children living in Italy.

At least 82 newborns have acquired the HIV infection from their mother in the last 10 years in Italy. This figure sounds a disturbing alarm bell and suggests that there is less than adequate counselling of pregnant women in our country.

The Italian registry for HIV infections in Pediatrics is a large, authoritative multi-centre cohort based in Florence and Turin. Since 1985, the register has anonymously collected  epidemiological and clinical data on HIV-infected children with or those born from a HIV-positive mother (over 11,000 children altogether).

Nowadays, mother-to-child HIV transmission can be almost entirely prevented with the correct treatment during pregnancy, reducing the risk posed to the newborns to close to zero.

Meanwhile, in the last few years, 82 infected children were born in Italy. This has resulted in 26 serious cases of AIDS and two deaths.

It is therefore crucial to know the pregnant mother’s condition and then, if the test is positive, implement prevention strategies regarding mother-child transmission.

Such cases, these days, are unacceptable, even more so in a country with abundant resources. All doctors and gynecologists must urge HIV testing during pregnancy and ensure it is accessible to all pregnant women.

Indeed, we also have to remind women of a reproductive age that HIV still exists and can be aquired outside the so-called “risk” categories.

Mothers need to know that their child has the right to be born healthy.