Exploring and addressing dimensions of health in older children with perinatally-acquired HIV-1 in British Columbia in partnership with communities

Effective antiretroviral therapies are enabling children born with HIV in developed nations to mature into adolescence and young adulthood. These children represent a unique group in the global HIV epidemic, because they have developed throughout their lives with access to antiretroviral drugs. Few Canadian studies to date have examined the lives of these children. As HIV-positive children mature, they face new medical and social challenges, and additional age-appropriate services are needed to support their development. For her MSFHR-funded Master’s work, Sarah Fielden explored the needs of older BC children born with HIV, in collaboration with the children, their family members, and their health care and community service providers. Now, Sarah’s goal is to develop health promotion programs to promote healthy development among these children. Sarah brings previous experience working with young people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, Africa, to this community-based study. She will also assess mortality, drug treatment trends and demographic profiles of BC children with HIV. The lessons learned from this research may be of interest to those working with children with other chronic diseases and the international HIV community at large.