Article

Retention in Care of HIV-Infected Children from HIV Test to Start of Antiretroviral Therapy: Systematic Review.

Division of International and Environmental Health, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Switzerland.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 02/2013; 8(2):e56446. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056446
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In adults it is well documented that there are substantial losses to the programme between HIV testing and start of antiretroviral therapy (ART). The magnitude and reasons for loss to follow-up and death between HIV diagnosis and start of ART in children are not well defined.
We searched the PubMed and EMBASE databases for studies on children followed between HIV diagnosis and start of ART in low-income settings. We examined the proportion of children with a CD4 cell count/percentage after after being diagnosed with HIV infection, the number of treatment-eligible children starting ART and predictors of loss to programme. Data were extracted in duplicate.
Eight studies from sub-Saharan Africa and two studies from Asia with a total of 10,741 children were included. Median age ranged from 2.2 to 6.5 years. Between 78.0 and 97.0% of HIV-infected children subsequently had a CD4 cell count/percentage measured, 63.2 to 90.7% of children with an eligibility assessment met the eligibility criteria for the particular setting and time and 39.5 to 99.4% of the eligible children started ART. Three studies reported an association between low CD4 count/percentage and ART initiation while no association was reported for gender. Only two studies reported on pre-ART mortality and found rates of 13 and 6 per 100 person-years.
Most children who presented for HIV care met eligibility criteria for ART. There is an urgent need for strategies to improve the access to and retention to care of HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings.

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