Hesperian Health Guides

Treat other illnesses and infections

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.


HealthWiki > Helping Children Live with HIV > Chapter 11: ART: Medicines for HIV > Treat other illnesses and infections


Children respond well to ART. However, it may take several months for ART to strengthen your child’s immune system and lower her level of HIV. The younger a child is, the less developed her immune system is. So even with ART, she may still become ill. Watch for signs of illness and treat them more quickly than you would with a child who does not have HIV. See Chapter 12. As your child’s body grows and gets stronger, she will become ill less often.

If a child becomes very sick soon after starting ART

Rarely, when someone starts taking ART, the medicine begins to strengthen his immune system but he suddenly feels much worse. The signs are the common signs of illness — high fever, bad cough, sores and rashes, or difficulty breathing. This may happen because his stronger immune system can fight illnesses better. This problem happens much less in children who start ART while they are well.

Seek medical help quickly if a child becomes very ill soon after starting ART, and be sure to tell health workers that your child just started ART. Take your child’s ART medicines with you when you go. Do not stop giving the child ART.



This page was updated:27 Nov 2019