A life less ordinary
The complexities of childhood HIV, even in a well resourced setting
The complexities of childhood HIV were made clear to me during a clinical attachment at a London based teaching hospital. The depth of patient-professional interaction seemed key to achieving strong trusting relationships and dealing with the concerns of patients and their families, which often extended beyond medical matters. Although I was aware of the considerable stigma around HIV, how much it pervaded the lives of these children and their parents was striking. The paediatric HIV clinics were called “family clinic” or “young persons’ clinic,” which was a way of providing patients and their families with privacy and confidentiality. Many of the children were unaware of their HIV status despite having attended clinics for years. The reasons for this became obvious, but I was amazed how the team worked skilfully with these children, despite the fact that the children were often ignorant as to why they attended the clinic.