PloS one 2016 Nov 311(11) e0165772 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0165772
Pediatric uptake and outcomes in antiretroviral treatment (ART) programmes have lagged behind adult programmes. We describe outcomes from a population-based pediatric ART cohort in rural southern Malawi.
Data were analyzed on children who initiated ART from October/2003 -September/2011. Demographics and diagnoses were described and survival analyses conducted to assess the impact of age, presenting features at enrolment, and drug selection.
The cohort consisted of 2203 children <15 years of age. Age at entry was <1 year for 219 (10%), 1-1.9 years for 343 (16%), 2-4.9 years for 584 (27%), and 5-15 years for 1057 (48%) patients. Initial clinical diagnoses of tuberculosis and wasting were documented for 409 (19%) and 523 (24%) patients, respectively. Median follow-up time was 1.5 years (range 0-8 years), with 3900 patient-years of follow-up. Over the period of observation, 134 patients (6%) died, 1324 (60%) remained in the cohort, 345 (16%) transferred out, and 387 (18%) defaulted. Infants <1 year of age accounted for 19% of deaths, with a 2.7-fold adjusted mortality hazard ratio relative to 5-15 year olds; median time to death was also shorter for infants (60 days) than older children (108 days). Survival analysis demonstrated younger age at ART initiation, more advanced HIV stage, and presence of tuberculosis to each be associated with shorter survival time. Among children <5 years, severe wasting (weight-for-height z-score = -3.0) was also associated with reduced survival. CONCLUSIONS
Cumulative incidence of mortality was 5.2%, 7.1% and 7.7% after 1, 3, and 5 years, respectively, with disproportionate mortality in infants <1 year of age and those presenting with tuberculosis. These findings reinforce the urgent need for early diagnosis and treatment in this population, but also demonstrate that provision of pediatric care in a rural setting can yield outcomes comparable to more resourced urban settings of poor countries.