Trend of HIV-seropositivity Among Children in a Tertiary Health Institution in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria*|
Alikor, Daniel E & Erhabor, Nelson O.
The objective of the study was to investigate the recent trends and magnitude of pediatric HIV-infection in the Niger Delta of Nigeria. It is a descriptive study of 1,559 consecutively recruited children (0-16 years), in whom laboratory requests for HIV screening were made, and seen in the Pediatrics Department of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital between January 1999 to December 2004 were evaluated for HIV –infection. The overall prevalence obtained was 25.8%. HIV-1 constituted the predominant viral serotype (97.6%) compared to HIV-2 (2.4%). The peak HIV seropositivity occurred in pediatrics 6-8 years. There was no statistically significant difference in prevalence rate based on gender (OR = 1, p = 0.98). Children with clinical diagnosis of bronchopneumonia, neonatal sepsis, septicemia and pulmonary tuberculosis had higher prevalence of HIV seropositivity. There is a trend of increasing HIV prevalence from 1999 to 2004 (χ2 for trend= 6.23, p = 0.39). History of previous blood transfusion was not significantly associated with HIV positivity (OR = 0.94, p = 0.94). This study shows that, in spite of the anti HIV campaign, there is a high prevalence of HIV among children attending tertiary health institution in the Niger Delta of Nigeria and the trend is increasing over the last 5 years. This calls for a re-intensified effort on health education and risk control programme, provision of antiretroviral regimen to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, provision of supportive environment for voluntary counseling and confidential testing of pregnant women coupled with the provision of pediatric antiretroviral therapy to reduce HIV-related mortality and morbidity of HIV-infected Nigerian children.