|dc.description.abstract||Zambia similar to other sub Saharan countries has high sero prevalence rates of HIV. In spite of several campaigns and strategies to improve HIV/AIDS awareness, paediatric HIV/AIDS cases in Zambia continue to rise. Despite the now available ARV's, few children are brought forward to access care. Possible reasons for this continued rise were explored in this study.
This quantitative descriptive study aimed to document awareness of parents/guardians of symptomatic paediatric AIDS among children under five years in a primary and tertiary health institution. Knowledge on mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and symptomatology of HIV among 331 parents/guardians attending Kabwata Health Center and University Teaching Hospital was assessed using a structured questionnaire.
Parents/ guardians are aware of mother to child transmission of HIV (MTCT) during pregnancy (36 %), labour and delivery (16%), and through breastfeeding (26%). Of note was that parents thought that HIV can be hospital acquired through use of unsterilised needles and syringes.
Just over 50% of respondents thought that an apparently healthy child was a guarantee that the child's parents were free from HIV infection and this may be a contributing factor to the low utilisation of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services.
Signs and symptoms of HIV infection volunteered by parents were non-specific. Specific signs and symptoms only accounted for 16% of the total responses. Half of the respondents were aware of the availability of anti-retroviral drugs for the management of HIV infection as well as for PMTCT. More than 80% of respondents were willing to under go VCT if they suspected their child of having HIV infection.
Insufficient and inaccurate knowledge among parents and care givers about paediatric HIV/AIDS is one of the important reasons for low VCT uptake and may be indirectly responsible for the increase in infant morbidity and mortality in Zambia. The study has shown the need for sustained aggressive community sensitization on the presentation and management of paediatric HIV/AIDS||en_US