9.7  Counselling the mother of a child with confirmed/suspected symptomatic HIV infection

You should begin by reassuring the mother that with the help of the health post staff and others, much can be done to improve and maintain her child’s health. You should:

  • Advise the mother about future pregnancies, safe sex and early treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Encourage the mother to seek voluntary counselling and testing.
  • Ensure good nutrition; counsel the mother on feeding practices. Explain that she should breastfeed her child for the first six months and avoid introducing other foods (mixed feeding) during these six months.
  • Explain the importance of early treatment of infections.
  • Emphasise personal hygiene and the importance of hand washing.
  • With the mother’s consent, refer her to the community health worker and/or a local support group.

9.6  Counsel the mother about HIV testing

Summary of Study Session 9