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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Factors associated with HIV infection among children born to mothers on the prevention of mother to child transmission programme at Chitungwiza Hospital, Zimbabwe, 2008

Stella Ngwende1, Notion T Gombe1*, Stanley Midzi2, Mufuta Tshimanga1, Gerald Shambira1 and Addmore Chadambuka1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Medicine, University of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe

2 Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:1181  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1181

Published: 14 December 2013

Abstract

Background

Zimbabwe is one of the five countries worst affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic with HIV infection contributing increasingly to childhood morbidity and mortality. Among the children born to HIV positive mothers participating in the PMTCT programme, 25% tested positive to HIV. We investigated factors associated with HIV infection among children born to mothers on the PMTCT programme.

Methods

A 1:1 unmatched case–control study was conducted at Chitungwiza Hospital, Zimbabwe, 2008. A case was defined as a child who tested HIV positive, born to a mother who had been on PMTCT programme. A control was a HIV negative child born to a mother who had been on PMTCT programme. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data on demographic characteristics, risk factors associated with HIV infection and immunization status.

Results

A total of 120 mothers were interviewed. Independent risk factors associated with HIV infection among children included maternal CD4 count of less than 200 during pregnancy [aOR = 7.1, 95% CI (2.6-17)], mixed feeding [aOR = 29, 95% CI (4.2-208)], being hospitalized since birth [aOR = 2.9, 95% CI (1.2-4.8)] whilst being exclusively breast fed for less than 6 months [aOR = 0.1 (95% CI 0.03-0.4)] was protective.

Conclusions

HIV infection among children increased if the mother’s CD4 count was ≤200 cells/μL and if the child was exposed to mixed feeding. Breastfeeding exclusively for less than six months was protective. We recommended exclusive breast feeding period for the first six months and stop breast feeding after 6 months if affordable, sustainable and safe.

Keywords:
HIV infection; Risk factors; PMTCT; Chitungwiza Hospital