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Study finds 42 children in Ireland diagnosed with HIV

The research in the Irish Medical Journal found many of the children’s illnesses were diagnosed at an advanced stage.

A NEW STUDY has found that 42 children were diagnosed with HIV in Ireland over the past decade.

The majority of the children came from countries outside of Ireland and the median age at diagnosis was 6 years old.

The research in the Irish Medical Journal raised concerns that many of the children were diagnosed when the virus was at an advanced stage: more than one third of the children who had a late diagnosis had previously spent time in hospital when their illness could have been diagnosed earlier, the study found.

The children were categorised into three groups – 12 children who had been diagnosed with HIV prior to arriving in Ireland, 5 infants born in Ireland to mothers known to be HIV positive, and 25 children who were diagnosed in Ireland and who were found to be late diagnoses.

The authors suggested that children coming from countries where HIV is highly prevalent should be screened for the virus so that they can be treated as early as possible, if necessary.

The IMJ study found that the vast majority of the children – 90 per cent – were born to mothers who were originally from Africa.

The study highlighted that HIV infection in children is still being under-diagnosed and there needs to be a more proactive approach to testing.

The figures come as the number of people diagnosed with HIV in Ireland rose last year for the first time in four years.

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There were 341 new cases of HIV in total last year, bringing the total number of people diagnosed with the virus to 6,629 over the past 30 years. The median (i.e. midpoint) age for new diagnoses is 33 years old.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre has said that although the total number of people diagnosed is known, the exact number of people living with HIV in Ireland cannot be confirmed because some may have emigrated or died.

Read: Baby born with HIV may have been cured, scientists say >

Read: A daily tablet can protect those who inject drugs from HIV >

About the author:

Christine Bohan

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