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Pediatric HIV infection can present in neonates, children, or adolescents. The number of cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among children in the United States is decreasing because of increased success in preventing perinatal transmission as well as the availability of effective treatments. Prompt diagnosis and adherence to effective treatments are critical to changing the face of HIV infection from a fatal disease to a chronic, manageable infection. Sadly, pediatric HIV/AIDS in the developing world is essentially unchecked, with almost 600,000 new infections in children younger than 15 years of age in 2002.

HIV defines a chronic RNA virus infection in the host. When opportunistic or other unusual or persistent infections have occurred or when the CD4+ lymphocyte count is less than 200 cells in persons older than age 12 years, a patient is defined as having AIDS. Opportunistic infections are...

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