Routine inpatient provider-initiated HIV testing in Malawi, compared with client-initiated community-based testing, identifies younger children at higher risk of early mortality

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 May 1;63(1):e16-22. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e318288aad6.


Objective: To determine how routine inpatient provider-initiated HIV testing differs from traditional community-based client-initiated testing with respect to clinical characteristics of children identified and outcomes of outpatient HIV care.

Design: Prospective observational cohort.

Methods: Routine clinical data were collected from children identified as HIV-infected by either testing modality in Lilongwe, Malawi, in 2008. After 1 year of outpatient HIV care at the Baylor College of Medicine Clinical Center of Excellence, outcomes were assessed.

Results: Of 742 newly identified HIV-infected children enrolling into outpatient HIV care, 20.9% were identified by routine inpatient HIV testing. Compared with community-identified children, hospital-identified patients were younger (median 25.0 vs 53.5 months), with more severe disease (22.2% vs 7.8% WHO stage IV). Of 466 children with known outcomes, 15.0% died within the first year of HIV care; median time to death was 15.0 weeks for community-identified children vs 6.0 weeks for hospital-identified children. The strongest predictors of early mortality were severe malnutrition (hazard ratio, 4.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.2-8.3), moderate malnutrition (hazard ratio, 3.2; confidence interval, 1.6-6.6), age < 12 months (hazard ratio, 3.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.4-7.2), age 12 to 24 months (hazard ratio, 2.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-5.7), and WHO stage IV (hazard ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-4.6). After controlling for other variables, hospital identification did not independently predict mortality.

Conclusions: Routine inpatient HIV testing identifies a subset of younger HIV-infected children with more severe, rapidly progressing disease that traditional community-based testing modalities are currently missing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis*
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • HIV Infections / mortality*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / complications
  • Malnutrition / mortality
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors