Young people with HIV
There are two groups of young people living with HIV: those who were infected around birth and have survived into adolescence and those young people who have been infected during adolescence, usually through unprotected sex. This infection history has an impact on many features of how HIV affects a young person, including prevention strategies and their HIV care and management (e.g. progression of HIV disease, treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ARV drugs), knowledge and disclosure of HIV status, access to care). For example, young people who have acquired the HIV infection at birth will have symptoms earlier than those infected after adolescence.
Young people who are infected before entering puberty often grow slowly and enter puberty later than is normal. Girls have irregular menstrual periods. This delay in growth and sexual maturation may also have an impact on the psychosocial development of the individual.
For young people infected after puberty, the infection can remain asymptomatic for a longer period of time than for adults. The younger the age at infection (after puberty), the longer the virus remains asymptomatic.