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Outcome of HIV-exposed uninfected children undergoing surgery

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2431-11-69

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A prospective study of children less than 60 months of age undergoing general surgery at a paediatric referral hospital from July 2004 to July 2008 inclusive. Children underwent age-definitive HIV testing and were followed up post operatively for the development of complications, length of stay and mortality.Three hundred and eighty children were enrolled; 4 died and 11 were lost to follow up prior to HIV testing, thus 365 children were included. Of these, 38(10.4%) were HIVe, 245(67.1%) were HIVn and 82(22.5%) were HIVi children.The overall mortality was low, with 2(5.2%) deaths in the HIVe group, 0 in the HIVn group and 6(7.3%) in the HIVi group (p = 0.0003). HIVe had a longer stay than HIVn children (3 (2-7) vs. 2 (1-4) days p = 0.02). There was no significant difference in length of stay between the HIVe and HIVi groups. HIVe children had a higher rate of complications compared to HIVn children, (9 (23.7%) vs. 14(5.7%) (RR 3.8(2.1-7) p < 0.0001) but a similar rate of complications compared to HIVi children 34 (41.5%) (RR = 0.6 (0.3-1.1) p = 0.06).HIVe children have a higher risk of developing complications and mortality after surgery compared to HIVn children. However, the risk of complications is lower than that of HIVi children.HIV-exposed uninfected (HIVe) children are a rapidly growing population. Programs for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) have reduced the transmission rate of perinatal HIV infection to approximately 2% to 5% [1-3]. Such programs have therefore effectively reduced the number of HIV infected (HIVi)children but identified an increasing population of HIVe children [4].HIVe children have been overlooked as a group of children who may be at an increased risk of illness compared to HIV-unexposed (HIVn) children. Recently, increased morbidity and mortality in HIVe children compared to HIVn children has been reported [4-10]. Many factors may account for this including innate deficiencies in immunity [11-13], feeding practice


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