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Comparison of previous and present World Health Organization clinical staging criteria in HIV-infected Malawian children.
AIDS. 2009 Sep 10; 23(14):1913-6.In many settings, HIV infected children are looked after with limited access to CD4 cell count or viral load. The decision to initiate antiretroviral therapy (ART) is made clinically, based on the WHO paediatric staging criteria, which were revised in 2006. Results of using new and old criteria were compared. Of 694 children, 626 (90.2%) fulfilled criteria to start ART when applying the new WHO staging guidelines, whereas 330 (47.6%) children were eligible for ART when using the old WHO criteria. This signifies a marked rise in the number of paediatric patients qualifying for ART on clinical grounds.
Validation of 2006 WHO prediction scores for true HIV infection in children less than 18 months with a positive serological HIV test.
PloS One. 2009; 4(4):e5312.INTRODUCTION: All infants born to HIV-positive mothers have maternal HIV antibodies, sometimes persistent for 18 months. When Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is not available, August 2006 World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations suggest that clinical criteria may be used for starting antiretroviral treatment (ART) in HIV seropositive children <18 months. Predictors are at least two out of sepsis, severe pneumonia and thrush, or any stage 4 defining clinical finding according to the WHO staging system. METHODS AND RESULTS: From January 2005 to October 2006, we conducted a prospective study on 236 hospitalized children <18 months old with a positive HIV serological test at the national reference hospital in Kigali. The following data were collected: PCR, clinical signs and CD4 cell count. Current proposed clinical criteria were present in 148 of 236 children (62.7%) and in 95 of 124 infected children, resulting in 76.6% sensitivity and 52.7% specificity. For 87 children (59.0%), clinical diagnosis was made based on severe unexplained malnutrition (stage 4 clinical WHO classification), of whom only 44 (50.5%) were PCR positive. Low CD4 count had a sensitivity of 55.6% and a specificity of 78.5%. CONCLUSION: As PCR is not yet widely available, clinical diagnosis is often necessary, but these criteria have poor specificity and therefore have limited use for HIV diagnosis. Unexplained malnutrition is not clearly enough defined in WHO recommendations. Extra pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), almost impossible to prove in young children, may often be the cause of malnutrition, especially in HIV-affected families more often exposed to TB. Food supplementation and TB treatment should be initiated before starting ART in children who are staged based only on severe malnutrition.
London, United Kingdom, ACF International Network, . 80 p. (Hunger Watch Publication)This report documents the findings of Local Voices, a six month qualitative research project that provided HIV orphans, vulnerable children and their carers with the opportunity to discuss and document the difficulties they face providing food, water and healthcare for their families. Through meetings, detailed interviews and discussions the project initiated and developed an ongoing dialogue with 20 families in four areas of the Kitwe district in the Copperbelt province of Zambia: Chimwemwe, Kwacha, Chipata and Zamtan. The discourse that developed over the course of the project has given Action Against Hunger (ACF-UK) and CINDI insight in two key areas. Firstly, the research has added a household perspective to existing ideas and analysis of food security in an HIV/AIDS context. Secondly, the project highlights the knowledge and learning that can be gained when people living with a positive HIV diagnosis are seen as 'experts' and their experiences are used to help identify and address the problems they face. Through the voices of the project's participants, the testimonies and images that are the core of this document explore the social and economic impact HIV/AIDS has on families affected by the disease. ACF-UK and CINDI pioneered this work because we believe HIV/AIDS can no longer be seen as just a medical issue. Within this report we demonstrate that HIV/AIDS has a direct impact on the economic and social well-being of both households and communities; and as such it must be tackled using an integrated approach where food, livelihoods and social protection are highlighted as solutions alongside access to medical care. This report opens with statistics that outline current rates of HIV/AIDS and poverty in Zambia, focusing specifically on the Copperbelt province and the Kitwe district. The testimonies that form the centrepiece of this report are introduced by a summary of the key social and economic issues that HIV orphans, vulnerable children and their carers face, together with a synopsis of government and community based organisation (CBO) responses. These topics have been selected as they cover the core issues that were raised during the Local Voices project. The document ends with a brief conclusion and the report recommendations.
Antiretroviral therapy for HIV infection in infants and children: towards universal access. Recommendations for a public health approach.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2007.  p.These stand-alone treatment guidelines serve as a framework for selecting the most potent and feasible first-line and second-line ARV regimens as components of expanded national responses for the care of HIV-infected infants and children. Recommendations are provided on: diagnosing HIV infection in infants and children; when to start ART, including situations where severe HIV disease in children less than 18 months of age has been presumptively diagnosed; clinical and laboratory monitoring of ART; substitution of ARVs for toxicities. The guidelines consider ART in different situations, e.g. where infants and children are coinfected with HIV and TB or have been exposed to ARVs either for the prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) or because of breastfeeding from an HIV-infected mother on ART. They address the importance of nutrition in the HIV-infected child and of severe malnutrition in relation to the provision of ART. Adherence to therapy and viral resistance to ARVs are both discussed with reference to infants and children. A section on ART in adolescents briefly outlines key issues related to treatment in this age group. (excerpt)