HIV & AIDS

In the last decade, many strategies have called for integration of HIV and child survival platforms to reduce missed opportunities and improve child health outcomes. Countries with generalized HIV epidemics have been encouraged to optimize each clinical encounter to bend the HIV epidemic curve. This systematic review looks at integrated child health services and summarizes evidence on their health outcomes, service uptake, acceptability, and identified enablers and barriers. Interventions of interest were HIV services integrated with: neonatal/child services for children <5 years, hospital care of children <5 years, immunizations, and nutrition services. Outcomes of interest were: health outcomes of children <5 years, integrated services uptake, acceptability, and enablers and barriers. Twenty-eight articles were reviewed. Service integration had positive effects on child health outcomes, HIV testing, and postnatal service uptake. Integrated services were generally acceptable, although confidentiality and stigma were concerns. Each clinical “touch point” with infants and children is an opportunity to provide comprehensive health services. In the current era of flat funding levels, integration of HIV and child health services is an effective, acceptable way to achieve positive child health outcomes.

In 2011, the Malawi Ministry of Health introduced option B+, a universal treatment strategy for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV. Under option B+, all pregnant or breastfeeding women with HIV are eligible for lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) regardless of clinical stage or CD4. Routine data from Malawi's prevention of MTCT option B+ programme suggest high uptake of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among pregnant women. Malawi's Ministry of Health led the National Evaluation of Malawi's PMTCT Program to obtain nationally representative data on maternal ART coverage and prevention of MTCT effectiveness. Here we present the early transmission data for infants aged 4–12 weeks and used a multistage cluster design to recruit a nationally representative sample of HIV-exposed infants and their mothers. Between October 16, 2014 and May 17, 2016, we screened for HIV in all mothers attending an under-5 vaccination or outpatient sick-child clinic with infants aged 4–26 weeks. They confirmed HIV exposure in 3542 (10·4%) of 33 980 mother (guardian)–infant pairs with infants aged 4–26 weeks. These data suggest that Malawi's decentralization of ART services has resulted in higher ART coverage and lower early MTCT. However, the uptake of services for HIV-exposed infants remains suboptimal.

Observational data characterizing the pediatric and adolescent HIV epidemics in real-world settings are critical to informing clinical guidelines, governmental HIV programs, and donor prioritization. In this commentary, we describe existing sources of observational data for children and youth living with HIV, focusing on larger regional and global research cohorts, and targeted surveillance studies and programs. Observational studies were among the first to highlight the growing population of children surviving perinatal HIV and transitioning to adolescence and young adulthood, and have raised serious concerns about high rates of treatment failure, loss to follow-up, and death among older perinatally infected youth. The use of observational data to inform modeling of the current global epidemic, predict future patterns of the youth cascade, and facilitate antiretroviral forecasting are critical priorities and key end products of observational HIV research. Greater investments into data infrastructure are needed at the local level to improve data quality and at the global level to faciliate reliable interpretation of the evolving patterns of the pediatric and youth epidemics. Harmonized data forms, use of unique patient identifiers to allow for data linkages across routine data sets, electronic medical record systems, and competent data managers and analysts are essential to make optimal use of the data collected.

Task-shifting mental health into general medical care requires more than brief provider training. Generalists need long-term support to master new skills and changes to work context are required to sustain change in the face of competing priorities. We examined program and context factors promoting and obstructing sustainability of a mental health task-shifting training for hospital-based HIV providers in Ethiopia.

Between December 2014 and September 2016, we conducted a prospective cohort study in eight health facilities in Ethiopia. Eligibility criteria included age 3 months-14 years; being on ART for not more than a month. Of 309 children, 304 were included, 52% were male. During 287.7 person-years of observation (PYO), 24 attritions were recorded, yielding an attrition rate of 8.3 per 100 PYO. Younger children, those from rural areas, and children with anaemia were at higher risk of attrition, especially during the early months of treatment, and therefore should be prioritized during treatment follow-up.

We interviewed 273 HIV-infected adolescents receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) from three hospitals in Addis Ababa. The level of self-reported ART adherence among HIV-infected adolescents at the three hospitals was below the recommended threshold. Though earlier presentation of adolescents to care should be encouraged, more targeted adherence support should be planned for those who present at an early stage of their illness.

The Ethiopian Paediatric HIV Cohort was established to identify clinical and laboratory predictors of virological treatment failure to ultimately develop a clinical–immunological prediction rule with area under the curve of >0.80 for detecting first-line antiretroviral therapy failure (ARTF). It will also assess the performance of the current WHO guidelines for detection of first-line ARTF in children. Using a prospective cohort design, HIV-infected children and adolescents below the age of 18 years are followed every 6 months with a set of clinical and laboratory parameters at 6 hospitals in southern Ethiopia. From October 2015 through April 2016, 628 children have been enrolled. The cohort will be completed in September 2017. The successful completion of this study will allow for better targeting of viral-load testing to those at highest risk in resource-poor settings and provide clinicians and policymakers with a practical prediction rule.

Our objective was to demonstrate the feasibility of integrated care for TB, HIV and diabetes mellitus (DM) in a pilot project in Ethiopia. Of 3439 study participants, 888 were patients with DM, 439 patients with TB and 2112 from HIV clinics. Tri-directional screening was feasible for detecting and managing previously undiagnosed TB and DM.

HIV among people who inject drugs (PWID) is a serious public health problem in Tajikistan and other Central Asian republics, yet relatively few studies have been conducted among PWID in Tajikistan and almost nothing is known about females who inject drugs. This presentation will examine gender differences in HIV status, injection risk behaviors and sex risk behaviors among PWID in Tajikistan.

A total of 1,221 adolescents living with HIV, in eight health facilities in Ethiopia, were screened for TB. The TB incidence rate was 16.32 per 100 PYO during pre-antiretroviral therapy (pre-ART) follow-up but declined to 2.25 per 100 PYO after initiation of ART. IPT use was associated with a significant reduction in TB incidence in the ART cohort, but not in the pre-ART group.

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