There are approximately 9,500 children living with HIV in Myanmar, according to a 2015 UNAIDS estimate. The Union Office in Myanmar provides antiretroviral therapy (ART) to 1,790 of them through the Integrated HIV Care (IHC) Programme, which has been offering health and social support to patients since 2005.
Children have weaker immune systems than adults and are at greater risk of developing AIDS if left untreated. However, modern treatment is effective and a child or adult taking regular medication can live a normal, healthy life.
Through the IHC Programme, The Union and its partners assist integration of HIV care into existing public healthcare services. Patients in the programme receive ART to manage the virus and are also treated for co-existing health issues and given access to support groups and counselling.
One patient, now a healthy nine-year-old boy, was diagnosed with HIV when he was just three months old and his mother noticed he was not thriving and was regularly ill. The National AIDS Programme treated him until he developed tuberculosis in 2010 and was transferred to The Union’s IHC Programme as a TB-HIV co-infected patient.
He was treated and cured of TB and now lives a normal life on ART. The Union’s approach to comprehensive care meant his mother also received the support she needed in order to be able to care for her son.
The Union Office in Myanmar is one of the top providers of ART in the country. The IHC Programme is supported through grants from Total E&P Myanmar and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.