Seroprevalence of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection in childhood malignancy in Zimbabwe

Cent Afr J Med. 1998 Oct;44(10):242-5.


Objectives: To determine the association between malignancy and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in children.

Design: Case series.

Setting: The Paediatric Oncology Unit at Parirenyatwa Teaching Hospital.

Subjects: 76 consecutive newly diagnosed cases of malignancy between May 15 and November 15 1997.

Main outcome measures: HIV serostatus.

Results: 27 out of 64 children were HIV seropositive, giving a seroprevalance rate of 42.2% (95% CI 30.1 to 54.3%). The four commonest diagnosed malignancies were non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (22.4%), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (19.7%), Wilm's tumour (19.7%) and Kaposi's sarcoma (15.8%). These tumours accounted for 77.6% of all malignancies. Nine of a total of 17 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma were HIV positive and all 12 patients with Kaposi's were also HIV positive. No cases of Burkitt's lymphoma were seen. Although there was increased incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) compared to previous years, there was no significant association with the HIV serostatus. A significant association between Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and HIV serostatus was observed (p < 0.001). Children with KS were more likely to be HIV seropositive. Children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and Wilm's tumours (WT) were 83 and 88% less likely to be HIV seropositive, respectively.

Conclusions: HIV has transformed the pattern of childhood malignancy in Zimbabwe. The two tumours mostly affected are NHL and KS.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Seroprevalence*
  • HIV-1*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / virology*
  • Male
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / virology*
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / virology*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Wilms Tumor / virology*
  • Zimbabwe