Pediatric AIDS:

Health and Social Service Needs of Infants and Children

HRD-89-96: Published: May 5, 1989. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information about children infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), focusing on: (1) whether HIV affected children and adults differently; (2) health and social service needs of children with HIV; (3) selected communities' responses to children's service needs; and (4) certain federal programs available to address children's service needs.

GAO found that: (1) most children contracted HIV from their infected mothers or through contaminated blood; (2) diagnosis of HIV or AIDS is more difficult with children than with adults, and drug research for children has lagged behind that for adults; (3) infected children tended to suffer from lung inflammation, low birth weight, developmental delays, and neurological abnormalities; (4) many infected children were born to families already facing poverty, drug abuse, parental HIV infection, and educational problems; (5) infected children's complex social and medical needs strained family and social services resources; (6) the selected communities have developed or expanded foster care, home health care, and support services to reduce infected children's needs for extended and costly hospital care, but also reported inadequate capacity to meet all current demands; (7) the Health Care Financing Administration can grant Medicaid Home and Community-Based Waivers to states to provide targeted health care and related services to persons with AIDS; (8) the Health Resources and Services Administration funded the Pediatric AIDS Health Care Demonstration projects to improve coordination of services for infected children, youth, and childbearing-age women; (9) the federal government provides matching funds to states for foster care maintenance and administrative costs; and (10) the Center for Disease Control's National AIDS Information Clearinghouse is developing databases of available resource organizations and materials on AIDS.

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