LSS/NCA has the only camp and retreat program for children affected by HIV/AIDS in the mid-Atlantic region. Each of the four Youth Haven camps were created with a child’s age, maturity level, and needs in mind. Though society and medical advances have made progress in controlling the spread of HIV, there is still a lot of work to be done and everyone can do their part in helping defeat stigma.
Children are most commonly infected with HIV when it’s spread from mother to child during pregnancy, labor, or breastfeeding. This is referred to as perinatal transmission. If a mother is diagnosed with HIV before or during pregnancy and she receives medical treatment, the risk of perinatal transmission can be reduced to a risk of less than 1%.
The good news:
There has been a 90% decline in perinatal transmission since the mid-1990s because of HIV-testing and medical attention. For HIV-infected youth under 21 years of age, the mortality rate was 7.2 deaths per 100. In 2000, the rate dropped to .8 deaths per 100.
There were no confirmed cases of perinatal transmission within DC in 2012.
How we can stop the spread of HIV to infants:
- Never share a needle, including those used for tattoos or piercings.
- Always wear a condom, especially if you have multiple partners.
- Get tested regularly.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about their status and whether they have been tested recently.
If you would like to find a free HIV-testing center or a place to seek medical care, nutrition services, or counseling, please visit the DC Department of Health website to find their directory. Together we can stop HIV in its tracks.
To learn more about Youth Haven and how you can help support our children and families in the DC metro region, please visit our website.