Children vertically infected with HIV have been shown to have developmental difficulties and disabilities. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of disabilities among a group of HIV infected children in South Africa and whether they are being referred to and accessing support services.
Of the 200 children whose parents were interviewed, 50.5% experienced disabilities, where 58.4% of those had more than one co-existing disability. The most commonly reported disabilities were, developmental delay (27%), cognitive and behaviour difficulties (21%), communication difficulties (17%) and physical disabilities (13%). Of the children who reported disability, only 46% had been referred to one or more support services;
The findings of this study–the prevalence of disability in children infected with HIV is high and these children are not being referred to and/or accessing the appropriate support services–should direct changes in government policy and clinical practice.