Open Access Open Badges Research article

18-month occurrence of severe events among early diagnosed HIV-infected children before antiretroviral therapy in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: A cohort study

Jérôme Harambat12, Patricia Fassinou34, Renaud Becquet12, Pety Touré3, François Rouet5, François Dabis2, Philippe Msellati6, Stéphane Blanche7, Marguerite Timité-Konan4, Roger Salamon12, Valériane Leroy12* and ANRS 1201/1202 Ditrame Plus Study Group8

Author Affiliations

1 INSERM, Unité 897, Bordeaux, France

2 Institut de Santé Publique, Epidémiologie et Développement (ISPED), Université Victor Segalen, Bordeaux 2, France

3 Projet ANRS 1201/1202 Ditrame Plus, Programme PAC-CI, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Treichville, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

4 Service de Pédiatrie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Yopougon, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

5 Centre de Diagnostic et de Recherches sur le SIDA (CeDReS), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Treichville, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

6 UMR 145, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Montpellier, France

7 Service de Pédiatrie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Necker Enfants Malades, Paris, France

8 See appendix

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BMC Public Health 2008, 8:169  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-8-169

Published: 20 May 2008



To assess the 18-month field effectiveness on severe events of a pediatric package combining early HIV-diagnosis and targeted cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in HIV-infected children from age six-week before the antiretroviral era, in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.


Data from two consecutive prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission programs were compared: the ANRS 1201/1202 Ditrame-Plus cohort (2001–2005) and the pooled data of the ANRS 049a Ditrame randomized trial and its following open-labeled cohort (1995–2000), used as a reference group. HIV-infected pregnant women ≥ 32–36 weeks of gestation were offered a short-course peri-partum antiretroviral prophylaxis (ZDV in Ditrame, and ZDV ± 3TC+single-dose (sd) NVP in Ditrame-Plus). Neonatal prophylaxis was provided in Ditrame-Plus only: 7-day ZDV and sdNVP 48–72 h after birth. A 6-week pediatric HIV-RNA diagnosis was provided on-line in the Ditrame-Plus while it was only oriented on clinical symptoms in Ditrame. Six-week HIV-infected children received a daily cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in Ditrame-Plus while no prophylaxis was provided in Ditrame. The determinants of severe events (death or hospitalization > 1 day) were assessed in a Cox regression model.


Between 1995 and 2003, 98 out of the 1121 live-births were diagnosed as HIV-infected in peri-partum: 45 from Ditrame-Plus and 53 from Ditrame. The 18-month Kaplan-Meier cumulative probability of presenting a severe event was 66% in Ditrame-Plus (95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 50%–81%) and 77% in Ditrame (95%CI: 65%–89%), Log Rank test: p = 0.47. After adjustment on maternal WHO clinical stage, maternal death, 6-week pediatric viral load, birth-weight, and breastfeeding exposure, the 18-month risk of severe event was lower in Ditrame-Plus than in Ditrame (adjusted Hazard Ratio (aHR): 0.55, 95%CI: 0.3–1.1), although the difference was not statistically significant; p = 0.07). Maternal death was the only variable determinant of the occurrence of severe events in children (aHR: 3.73; CI: 2.2–11.2; p = 0.01).


Early cotrimoxazole from 6 weeks of age in HIV-infected infants seemed to reduce probability of severe events but the study lacked statistical power to prove this. Even with systematic cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, infant morbidity and mortality remained high pointing towards a need for early pediatric HIV-diagnosis and antiretroviral treatment in Africa.