About Kids juvenile arthritis Juvenile arthritis is a serious, painful, incurable and debilitating autoimmune disease with the potential to result in joint deformities and loss of vision if not diagnosed early and treated effectively. It is one of the most commonest chronic childhood diseases affecting more than 6,000 children in Australia. There are many thousands of people in Australia whose arthritis started as juvenile arthritis and extended into adulthood. About one-third of these people have a severe disability. The prevalence of juvenile arthritis is similar to other serious childhood diseases such as juvenile diabetes and around six times more common than cystic fibrosis, yet there is little political or community awareness of juvenile arthritis and low awareness among health professionals. Services for juvenile arthritis in Australia lag well behind other serious childhood diseases with similarly complex treatment and care requirements. There are only 22 paediatric rheumatologists in the whole of Australia. The total number of paediatric rheumatologists employed in the public hospital system in Australia totals less than 8.0 FTE. Government investment in juvenile arthritis services and research is sadly lacking. Consequently, on average it takes 10 months from the onset of symptoms to diagnosis, and some children already have irreversible joint damage and loss of vision at diagnosis. Once diagnosed, access to specialist medical, nursing, physio and occupational therapy, pain management and self-care education services is very limited.