Objective: Paediatric HIV is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. We describe HIVrelated mortality in a cohort of HIV-infected Jamaican children and identified factors which influenced survival.
Methods: A retrospective descriptive study was conducted for the period March 2003 – December 2005 at Cornwall Regional Hospital, Montego Bay, Jamaica. We summarized demographic and clinical data of deceased and living perinatally HIV-infected children and identified factors that influenced survival of rapid and slow progressors. Rapid progressors are HIV-infected children identified clinically before age 2 years and slow progressors after age 2 years.
Results: There were 9 (18%) HIV/AIDS-related deaths among 50 HIV-infected children of whom 23 (46%) were males and 21(43%) were AIDS orphans. Five children (10%) received ARV prophylaxis, 31 (62%) were breastfed and 39 (78%) received HAART. Surviving children displayed primarily non-AIDS defining illnesses (pneumonia and sepsis) but there was no difference in AIDS-defining illnesses among living and deceased children. The median age at diagnosis was 26 months (range 3–121; IQR 10,54). The median age at death was 30 months (range 7–122 months; IQR 17,118). Both surviving and deceased children presented with primarily moderate symptoms at diagnosis (21, 42%) and death (7, 78%). In rapid progressors, 19 of 20 (95%) on HAART remained alive and all 4 (100%) who did not receive HAART died. The mortality rate in children on HAART was 30.78 per 100 person years and 48 per 100 person years in children not receiving HAART.
Conclusions: HAART is the only factor identified which prolonged survival for HIV-infected children who are rapid progressors, have AIDS-defining illnesses and are orphans.