pediatric HIV

A new and more expansive agenda must be articulated to ensure that those infants and children who will never feel the impact of the current elimination agenda are reached and linked to appropriate care and treatment. This agenda must addresses challenges around both reducing vertical transmission through PMTCT and ensuring access to appropriate HIV testing, care, and treatment for all affected children who were never able to access PMTCT programming. Option B+, or universal test and treat for HIV-infected pregnant women, is an excellent start, but it may be time to rethink our current approaches to delivering PMTCT services. New strategies will reduce vertical transmission to less than 1% for those mother-infant pairs who can access them allowing for the contemplation of not just PMTCT, but actual elimination of MTCT. But expanded thinking is needed to ensure elimination of pediatric HIV.

Treatment 2.0 is an initiative launched by UNAIDS and WHO in 2011 to catalyze the next phase of treatment scale-up for HIV. The initiative defines strategic activities in 5 key areas--drugs, diagnostics, commodity costs, service delivery and community engagement--in an effort to simplify treatment, expand access and maximize program efficiency. For adults, many of these activities have already been turned into treatment policies. The recent WHO recommendation to use a universal first line regimen regardless of gender, pregnancy and TB status is a treatment simplification very much in line with Treatment 2.0. But despite that fact that Treatment 2.0 encompasses all people living with HIV, we have not seen the same evolution in policy development for children. In this paper we discuss how Treatment 2.0 principles can be adapted for the pediatric population.

As of 2012, only 34% of treatment eligible children in low- and middle-income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) despite proven benefits of early initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART) on child survival. We reviewed routine EID (early infant diagnosis) laboratory and paediatric ART patient records to determine missed opportunities for optimizing EID and current status of linkage between EID entry points to paediatric ART initiation in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. These are three countries with EID coverage of 22, 11 and 14%, respectively and ART coverage rates of 18, 16 and 32%, respectively. This article examines the most likely delivery points for collection of blood samples for EID testing for infant and young children and the most likely referral points for ART initiation of HIV-infected children in these three countries. This data provides evidence of consistent missed opportunities for linking HIV-infected children identified during EID to early ART treatment. We also argue for expanding the provision of EID to other service delivery points beyond PMTCT platform and provide suggestions for better linkages from EID to care and treatment.

Roughly 70% of infected children are not receiving live-saving HIV care and treatment. Strengthening case finding through improved diagnosis strategies and actively linking identified HIV-infected children to care and treatment are essential to ensuring that these children benefit from the care and treatment available to them. This article summarizes the challenges of identifying HIV-infected infants and children, reviews currently available evidence and guidance, describes promising new strategies for case finding, and makes recommendations for future research and interventions to improve identification of HIV-infected infants and children.

Summary Despite the global initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV, 210,000 new pediatric infections were added worldwide in 2012 to the existing pool of 3.4 million children living with the virus.

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