It's terribly disheartening to know that children get AIDS/HIV. Many people wonder, "How do kids get AIDS?" Here are some answers:
1. The most common way children get HIV is through childbirth. A mother infected with the HIV virus can pass the virus to the child easily during the birthing process, because of the blood and mucus. Many people aren't aware that medication given to the mother before birth and to the baby immediately after birth can significantly reduce the risk of infection to the baby. Many mothers simply can't afford the medication.
2. Sometimes unborn children get HIV before birth, while growing in the uterus, where the virus is passed through the mother's blood to the baby.
3. An infant may also catch the virus by breastfeeding. Although normally breast milk is the healthiest option for babies, viruses including HIV can be transmitted by breastfeeding. Many mothers simply can't afford the option of formula feeding, causing HIV positive mothers to pass the virus on to their babies.
4. Although much less common, another way kids get HIV is via blood transfusions. Most blood used for transfusions is carefully screened, but there is always a slight chance a baby might be infected through a transfusion.
5. One of the most devastating ways some children get AIDS is by rape or sexual abuse of someone who is HIV positive. In some parts of Africa, there is an unfortunate belief that having sex with a virgin can cure HIV. Because older children and adolescents are often already sexually active (whether they are willing or not), the victims of rape are becoming younger and younger.
You can learn more at our website http://helpchildrenwithaids.org.