Medical utilization by immunodeficient, hemophiliac, and HIV positive children during summer camp: Evidence for a safe camper experience


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Abstract

BackgroundContinuation of normal activities is vital to psychosocial development of children with serious illnesses. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not it was safe for HIV-positive children and children with other immunodeficiencies to attend camp.ProcedureThe study population consisted of HIV (+) children, HIV negative siblings, and other immunodeficient campers attending Barretstown Gang (BG) Camp between 1998 and 2002. Their visit frequency to the on-site medical facility was compared within the study population and between 2,323 contemporaneous campers with cancer.ResultsOver half of the HIV (+) children were on active therapy. Greater than 97% of staff (49/51) made at least one visit compared with 64% (149/233) of campers (P < 0.04). HIV (−) siblings had almost the same need for medical attention (total visits) as children with immunodeficiencies (P = 0.34). Most visits [88%] among all diagnostic groups except hemophilia were non-disease related (328 vs. 47). Apart from URIs, there were few other infections and no fevers in the HIV(+) or immunodeficiency group, nor were there significant bleeds in the hemophiliacs. Most visits were for routine camp-type ailments.ConclusionsOur findings suggest that it is safe for HIV (+) and immunodeficient children to attend a properly staffed camp. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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