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Caring for Kids with HIV and TB: Hope for better treatments

Posted on February 15, 2017

Source: Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative

Caring for Kids with HIV and TB: Hope for better treatments

"Sani sits in the doorway of her one-room house with her baby girl Mel in her arms. A pink sunset illuminates the Durban township of KwaMashu that unfolds below her clifftop house. She looks lovingly at Mel, then takes out a syringe and struggles to give the two-year-old a medicine that is over 40% alcohol. Mel swats away her mother’s hand, spits up the solution, cries.

This is a daily ritual for Sani Nojiyeza, 23, who like her daughter Mel is HIV positive. While Sani’s antiretroviral drugs are pretty easy to take, the only drugs available for Mel taste absolutely foul. Sani has tried mixing them with peanut butter or yoghurt but it doesn’t fully mask the taste.

Like many children living with HIV in Africa, Mel is also infected with tuberculosis (TB). This means Mel needs a large daily regimen of drugs combining HIV antiretrovirals and antibiotics for TB. 'It’s heart-breaking to give so many treatments to a kid at the same time,' Sani says. She perseveres: if all goes well, Mel’s TB should be cured in six months. And the HIV treatment – if taken every day – will ensure that Mel has a long and fruitful life."

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