This study aimed to investigate the demographic profiles of human immunodifficiency virus (HIV) infected anti-retroviral therapy (ART) naïve children in our hospital and their relations to the clinical, immunological and nutritional status.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in an Integrated Counselling and Testing Center (ICTC) at a tertiary care hospital in Mumbai. ART naïve HIV positive children were enrolled in the study. The demographic profiles, clinical features, immunological (CD4%/CD4 count) and nutritional status of these children were recorded. The agreement between clinical, immunological and nutritional staging was determined using Cohen¡¯s kappa test.
In 192 HIV-infected ART naive children enrolled with a median age of 9 years (range 3 months-14 years), 97.4% acquired infection through vertical transmission. The most common clinical presentation was fever (39.6%), followed by generalized lymphadenopathy (32.3%), cough (22.4%) and diarrhoea (9.9%). Tuberculosis was seen in 22.9% of the children. The agreement was fair between clinical and immunological staging, and slight between nutritional, immunological and clinical staging.
Perinatal transmission is the most common mode of acquiring HIV infection in children. The Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) program should be strengthened for lowering the transmission rate by providing extended ART to mothers during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Tuberculosis remains a major concern in HIV-infected children. The poor correlation between WHO clinical and immunological staging emphasizes the importance of making CD4 facilities available in HIV prevalent areas. Malnutrition cannot be used as a surrogate marker for predicting stage or severity as it is common at all stages of HIV disease.
Key words: anti-retroviral therapy; CD4 count; clinical stage; HIV; nutritional status