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Clinical Services: Infants, Children & Teens

About Infants, Children and Teens with HIV

Image: Louis Armstrong

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects people of all age groups and is disproportionately found in minority groups. Involving any group of retroviruses that infect and destroy helper T cells of the immune system, HIV often alters healthy growth and development in children, as well as exposes children to life-threatening opportunistic infections. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), approximately 2.5 million children ages 15 and under were living with HIV/AIDS worldwide by the end of 2003, with New York City as the US city rating highest for incidences of pediatric AIDS.

Music Therapy for Infants, Children and Teens with HIV
Music has played a major role in the treatment of illness as well as marking cultural and life events within communities since early civilization began. Recently, recognition and utilization of the healing power of music is returning to the health care community as a complementary component to medical care provided for all ages groups and areas of need.

In conjunction with the long-term, multi-faceted needs of children with HIV, the Louis and Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy Program offers ongoing services in collaboration with Mount Sinai Beth Israel's pediatric HIV Clinic. Individual and group sessions are held routinely for infants, children, teens and families as part of routine treatment through the clinic, and support shared goals of care, such as enhancing growth and progress toward meeting developmental milestones, supporting social adaptation in dealing with chronic illness, addressing self-esteem issues in coping with physical and emotional side-effects, and offering opportunities to support quality of life experiences.
Inpatient services for HIV-positive children and their families are offered along with outpatient treatment to enhance continuity of care and provide support during acute times of need. Clinical inpatient and outpatient services include:

  • Weekly sessions in the out-patient pediatric clinic
  • Daily sessions on the inpatient pediatric unit, either at the bedside or in our music therapy studio
  • Interactive/collaborative play for patients, families and staff through community jams. Community music sharing can offer opportunities for participants to experience others in new roles—e.g.,medical team as non-threatening, children as decision-makers, etc., as well as create a familiar, "home" feel in an otherwise medical environment
  • Pain Management: procedural music therapy using live music with children undergoing blood-draws, needle sticks, and other procedures. Patients use drumming for release/entrainment, or relaxation/meditation with live music to ease the pain experience.
  • Pre-operative Anxiety: Live music relaxation to prepare patients for surgery and accompany patients to the operating room
  • Community Event Opportunity: patients, family and staff may share a variety of creative arts expressions—e.g., music, dance, visual arts, poetry, etc., during this annual event designed to promote self-expression, enhance self-esteem, and invite social engagement and interaction in a supportive, community environment

Related Research and Articles
For articles from peer-reviewed journals, research studies and authoritative literature, please see the bibliographies in the Suggested Reading section. Additional information is available through Websites listed on the Related Links page.

For Questions and Further Information
For questions and further information about music therapy or referrals for yourself, your loved ones or your patients, please call (212) 420-2704 or email info@musicandmedicine.org .

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