What are the symptoms? The complications of HIV infection and the ways infected children may present are numerous and extremely variable. All the systems of the body may be involved including the gastro-intestinal tract, the lungs and the nervous system. They are also prone to develop recurrent infections and some malignancies. What are the causes? HIV can be transmitted by unprotected sexual intercourse, both homosexual and heterosexual, by the administration of contaminated blood products and by contact with infected needles. HIV infected women can also pass the infection to their unborn children. This may occur while the baby is in utero (in the womb), at the time of delivery, or transmitted by breast milk. How is it diagnosed? HIV is diagnosed by the presence of antibodies against the HIV virus in the blood. In some cases, tests are only sensitive enough to detect antibodies a few months after the risk of infection. How is it treated? Current knowledge now encourages HIV testing during pregnancy. Combination antiretroviral therapy in pregnancy and bottle-feeding has reduced the chance of a baby being infected from over 20 per cent down to less than one per cent. The outlook for children born with the virus has dramatically improved with the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy. Using a combination of three types of antiretroviral therapy has also led to an improved outcome for infected children. Most children receiving antiretroviral drugs to reduce the effect of the virus remain very well, attend school and lead normal lives apart from taking medication every day. Children with HIV should receive the normal schedule of vaccinations apart from BCG (a vaccine against tuberculosis). Inheritance patterns and prenatal diagnosis Inheritance patternsNone. However, the disease may be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or birth. Prenatal diagnosisAll women are now actively encouraged to have an HIV test in pregnancy as part of routine clinical care. Postnatal tests are available for babies born to HIV positive women. Is there support? Waverley Care Tel: 0131 558 1425Email: via websiteWebsite: waverleycare.org Waverley Care is a Registered Charity in Scotland No. SC036500. It provides information, support and services to people in Scotland who are living with HIV or Hepatitis C, including services for children, young people and families. Group details last updated January 2016. Other organisations providing excellent support and information covering HIV Infection/AIDS but not specially geared to children are listed below: Positively UK Helpline: 020 7713 0444Email: email@example.comWebsite: positivelyuk.org The Organisation is a Registered Charity in England and Wales No. 1007685. It provides peer-led support, advocacy and information to women, men and young people living with HIV. Group details last updated December 2014. Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) Helpline: 0808 802 1221Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgWebsite: tht.org.uk The Trust is a Registered Charity in England and Wales No. 288527. It provides information and support to anyone living with, affected by, or concerned about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The Trust runs services from its centres across the UK. Group details last updated December 2014.