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Superior Uptake and Outcomes of Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV Services at an Immunization Clinic Versus an “Under-Five” General Pediatric Clinic in Malawi

McCollum, Eric D. MD; Johnson, Derek C. MPH; Chasela, Charles S. PhD; Siwande, Linias D. RN; Kazembe, Peter N. MB, CHB, FRCP; Olson, Dan MD; Hoffman, Irving PA, MPH; van der Horst, Charles MD; Hosseinipour, Mina C. MD, MPH

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: August 1st, 2012 - Volume 60 - Issue 4 - p e107–e110
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31825aa721
Implementation and Operational Research: Epidemiology and Prevention

Objective: Although the Malawian government recommends HIV-exposed infants receive early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV at “under-five” pediatric clinics (U5Cs), most never enroll. Therefore, we evaluated the integration of EID testing into an immunization clinic (IC) compared with the current standard of EID testing at an U5C.

Design: Prospective observational study.

Methods: Using routine provider-initiated HIV testing and counseling (PITC) registers, we prospectively studied 1757 children offered PITC at a government IC and U5C. Infants tested by HIV DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) were followed until PCR result disclosure or defaulting.

Results: We sampled 877 and 880 consecutive PITC recipients at U5C and IC, respectively. Overall, a 7-fold greater proportion received PITC at IC (84.2% vs. 11.4%, P < 0.001). PITC recipients at IC were more than 14 months younger (2.6 vs. 17.0, P < 0.001), with greater proportions HIV exposed (17.6% vs. 5.3%, P < 0.001) and PCR eligible (7.9% vs. 3.5%, P < 0.001). A higher percentage of IC infants accepted PCR testing (100.0% vs. 90.3%, P = 0.03). Additionally, IC PCR recipients were 2.5 months younger (3.1 vs. 5.6, P < 0.001) with 4 times less testing PCR positive (7.1% vs. 32.1%, P < 0.001). Importantly, a more than 3-fold greater proportion of HIV-exposed infants at IC returned for their PCR result and enrolled into care (78.6% vs. 25.0%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Compared with an U5C, integrating EID testing into an IC is more acceptable, more feasible, enrolls more infants into EID at younger ages, and would likely strengthen Malawi's EID services if expanded.

*UNC Project, Lilongwe, Malawi

Baylor College of Medicine Children's Foundation, Lilongwe, Malawi

University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC.

Correspondence to: Eric D. McCollum, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Kamuzu Central Hospital, University of North Carolina Project, Private Bag A104, Lilongwe, Malawi (e-mail: ericdmccollum@gmail.com).

Supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (R24 TW007988) through the Fogarty International Center and International Clinical Research Fellows Program at Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina Center for AIDS Research (5 P30-AI50410).

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Conceived and designed the experiments: E.D.M., C.S.C., D.O., and M.C.H.; Performed the experiments: E.D.M.; Analyzed the data: E.D.M., D.C.J. Wrote the article: E.D.M., D.C.J. Critical review of article: C.S.C., L.D.S., P.N.K., D.O., I.H., C.V.D.H., M.C.H.

Received December 8, 2011

Accepted April 10, 2012

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.