Paediatric HIV infection in a rural South African district hospital

Shunmay Yeung, David Wilkinson*, Sarah Escott, Charles F. Gilks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence, clinical spectrum, and outcome of paediatric HIV infection in 281 consecutive children admitted to hospital in rural South Africa between October 1996 and January 1997. HIV infection was defined as two positive ELISAs in those aged > 12 months; a positive ELISA plus a positive IgG3 in those aged 6-12 months; and a positive ELISA plus positive p24 antigen or PCR in those aged 0-5 months. In all, 72 (26 per cent) children were HIV infected. Age-specific HIV prevalence was at least 25 per cent in all 1-5 year age groups. HIV-infected children were more likely to have been previously admitted (46 per cent vs. 23 per cent; p = 0.0002), and were more likely to have severe malnutrition (52 per cent vs. 17 per cent; p < 0.0001). Both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected most frequently presented with diarrhoeal disease (51 per cent vs. 32 per cent), acute respiratory infection (13 per cent vs. 23 per cent), and malnutrition (18 per cent vs. 11 per cent). Satisfactory response to antibiotic therapy was less likely among the HIV-infected (56 per cent vs. 73 per cent; p = 0.02), and mortality was higher among the HIV-infected (21 per cent vs. 7 per cent; p = 0.005). It is concluded that HIV-infected children present with disease syndromes common to this setting, but do so more frequently and with worse outcome than their uninfected counterparts. The high burden of paediatric HIV disease in this setting poses a substantial challenge for health resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-110
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2000
Externally publishedYes


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