Scaling-up co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in HIV-exposed and HIV-infected children in high HIV-prevalence countries.
AffiliationMédecins Sans Frontières, Medical department (Operational Research), Brussels Operational Center, Brussels, Belgium. email@example.com
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JournalThe Lancet Infectious Diseases
AbstractCo-trimoxazole (trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole) is a widely available antibiotic that substantially reduces HIV-related morbidity and mortality in both adults and children. Prophylaxis with co-trimoxazole is a recommended intervention of proven benefit that could serve not only as an initial step towards improving paediatric care in young children with limited access to antiretroviral treatment, but also as an important complement to antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings. Despite co-trimoxazole's known clinical benefits, the potential operational benefits, and favourable recommendations by WHO, UNAIDS, and UNICEF, its routine use in developing countries--particularly sub-Saharan Africa--has remained limited. Out of an estimated 4 million children in need of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis (HIV-exposed and HIV-infected), only 4% are currently receiving this intervention. We discuss some of the major barriers preventing the scale-up of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for children in countries with a high prevalence of HIV and propose specific actions required to tackle these challenges.