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Increases in Pediatric Antiretroviral Treatment, South Africa 2005–2010
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Author: Sandeep D. Patel et al.

by Sandeep D. Patel, Elysia Larson, Thobile Mbengashe, Heidi O’Bra, J. W. Brown, Thurma M. Golman, Jeffrey D. Klausner

Background

In South Africa in 2010, about 340,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV. We describe the increase in the treatment of South African pediatric HIV-infected patients assisted by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) from 2004 to 2010.

Methods

We reviewed routine program data from PEPFAR-funded implementing partners among persons receiving antiretroviral treatment age 15 years old and less. Data quality was assessed during the reporting period by program officials through routine analysis of trends and logic checks. Based on UNAIDS estimated mortality rates of untreated HIV-infected children, we calculated the number of deaths averted and life-years gained in children under five receiving PEPFAR-assisted antiretroviral treatment.

Results

From October 2004 through September 2010, the number of children newly initiated on antiretroviral treatment in PEPFAR-assisted programs increased from 154 to 2,641 per month resulting in an increase from 2,412 children on antiretroviral treatment in September 2005 to 79,416 children in September 2010. Of those children who initiated antiretroviral treatment before September 2009, 0–4 year olds were 1.4 (95% CI: 1.3–1.5) times as likely to transfer out of the program or die as 5–14 year olds; males were 1.3 (95% CI: 1.0–1.7) times as likely to stop treatment as females. Approximately 27,548 years of life were added to children under-five years old from PEPFAR-assisted antiretroviral treatment.

Conclusions

Pediatric antiretroviral treatment in South Africa has increased substantially. However, additional case-finding and a further acceleration in the implementation of pediatric care and treatment services is required to meet the current treatment need.

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