• Effectiveness of highly active antiretroviral therapy in HIV-positive children: evaluation at 12 months in a routine program in Cambodia.

      Janssens, B; Raleigh, B; Soeung, S; Akao, K; Te, V; Gupta, J; Vun, M; Ford, N; Nouhin, J; Nerrienet, E; Médecins Sans Frontières, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. b.janssens@bigfoot.com (2007-11)
      OBJECTIVE: Increasing access to highly active antiretroviral therapy to reach all those in need in developing countries (scale up) is slowly expanding to HIV-positive children, but documented experience remains limited. We aimed to describe the clinical, immunologic, and virologic outcomes of pediatric patients with >12 months of highly active antiretroviral therapy in 2 routine programs in Cambodia. METHODS: Between June 2003 and March 2005, 212 children who were younger than 13 years started highly active antiretroviral therapy. Most patients started a standard first-line regimen of lamivudine, stavudine, and nevirapine, using split adult fixed-dosage combinations. CD4 percentage and body weight were monitored routinely. A cross-sectional virologic analysis was conducted in January 2006; genotype resistance testing was performed for patients with a detectable viral load. RESULTS: Mean age of the subjects was 6 years. Median CD4 percentage at baseline was 6. Survival was 92% at 12 months and 91% at 24 months; 13 patients died, and 4 were lost to follow-up. A total of 81% of all patients had an undetectable viral load. Among the patients with a detectable viral load, most mutations were associated with resistance to lamivudine and non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor drugs. Five patients had developed extensive antiretroviral resistance. Being an orphan was found to be a predictor of virologic failure. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides additional evidence of the effectiveness of integrating HIV/AIDS care with highly active antiretroviral therapy for children in a routine setting, with good virologic suppression and immunologic recovery achieved by using split adult fixed-dosage combinations. Viral load monitoring and HIV genotyping are valuable tools for the clinical follow-up of the patients. Orphans should receive careful follow-up and extra support.
    • Excellent outcomes among HIV+ children on ART, but unacceptably high pre-ART mortality and losses to follow-up: a cohort study from Cambodia.

      Raguenaud, M-E; Isaakidis, P; Zachariah, R; Te, V; Soeung, S; Akao, K; Kumar, V; Médecins Sans Frontières, 72, Street 592, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. eve_raguenaud@hotmail.com (2009-08-20)
      BACKGROUND: Although HIV program evaluations focusing on mortality on ART provide important evidence on treatment effectiveness, they do not asses overall HIV program performance because they exclude patients who are eligible but not started on ART for whatever reason. The objective of this study was to measure mortality that occurs both pre-ART and during ART among HIV-positive children enrolled in two HIV-programs in Cambodia. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study on 1168 HIV-positive children <15 years old registered in two HIV-programs over a four-year period. Mortality rates were calculated for both children on treatment and children not started on ART. RESULTS: Over half (53%) of children were 5 years or above and only 69(6%) were <18 months. Overall, 9% (105/1168) of children died since the set-up of the programs. By the end of the observation period, 66(14.5%) patients not on ART had died compared to 39(5.5%) of those under treatment, and 100(22%) who did not start ART were lost-to-follow-up compared to 13(2%) on ART. 66/105 (62.8%) of all in-program deaths occurred before starting ART, of which 56% (37/66) and 79% (52/66) occurred within 3 and 6 months of enrollment respectively. Mortality rate ratio between children not on ART and children on ART was 4.1 (95%CI: 2.7-6.2) (P < 0.001). The most common contributing cause of death in first 3 months of treatment and in first 3 months of program enrollment was tuberculosis. 41/52 (79%) children who died within 6 months of enrollment had met the ART eligibility criteria before death. CONCLUSION: HIV-positive children experienced a high mortality and loss-to-follow-up rates before starting ART. These program outcomes may be improved by a more timely ART initiation. Measuring overall in-program mortality as opposed to only mortality on ART is recommended in order to more accurately evaluate pediatric HIV-programs performance.