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Tuesday, 30 November 1999

Coping With Childhood HIV / Aids Australia's First Children's HIV Booklette

Australia's only dedicated Paediatric HIV/AIDS Service at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick is providing Australian's first educational booklet aimed at helping children and parents understand and come to terms with HIV and AIDS.

Latest figures show that approximately 147 Australian children under the age of 13 are infected with the HIV virus and 47 of those children have developed full-blown AIDS. As there was no written information for children and parents on the subject there was a strong need for such a booklet.

'The booklet is the first of its kind in Australia and provides families with important information about children living with HIV or AIDS. Most information regarding HIV / AIDS is written about adults,' said Michelle Goode, Clinical Nurse Consultant, HIV/AIDS, Sydney Children's Hospital Randwick.

'The experiences of children living with HIV/AIDS is very different to that of adults and this booklet addresses children's issues.' said Ms Goode.

Sydney Children's Hospital Paediatric HIV provides multidisciplinary services to families throughout NSW who are either infected or directly affected by HIV. These services can include diagnosis, clinical trials, consultation and family and individual counseling. Other support services include community nursing, home support, respite care, babysitting and providing a resource and educational service on the virus.

On display in the front foyer of the Hospital is a quit made by patients at the Hospital who have lost a loved one to AIDS. The magnificent quit was made at an annual camp, Camp Goodtime run by the Hospital as part of the support network for children.

The Unit also works in collaboration with the National Centre of HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research to collect statistics on perinatal transmission of HIV in Australia.

One hundred and seventy-six children have been born to HIV positive women in Australia, most of who are uninfected although they still need close follow-up for two years.

The death rate world wide for children is currently about 1,000 every day.

For Further Information Contact:

Catharina Boer, Public Affairs Manager Tel: 9382 3571 - Mob:0411 730 842

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