If your baby tests positive at any time, he will immediately be started on antiretroviral therapy (ART) – all children under the age of 5 in South Africa start ART immediately regardless of their CD4 cell count.
Once you find out your baby is positive, you will receive counselling and your baby will be started on ART. Your baby will also have blood tests done to check: CD4 cell count, Viral load, and other tests such as Hb (iron levels in their blood) and liver functions to check that the ART we choose is safe.
This makes sure that your baby has the best possible chance to stay healthy and not become ill from opportunistic infections like TB or meningitis.
Your child’s success on ART depends on you – you need to make sure you attend all the clinic appointments you are given, give the correct dose of medication at the correct times every single day to your child, and immediately go to the clinic for help if you are experiencing problems or if your baby is ill. A baby or small child is completely dependent on their parent or caregiver to make sure they are taking treatment correctly.