Prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission among Transfused Children with Sickle Cell Anemia in Enugu Nigeria

Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2012 Jul;2(2):109-13. doi: 10.4103/2141-9248.105655.


Background: There are a number of routes for human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) transmission in children. Blood transfusion-related HIV is still common in developing countries like Nigeria especially among high risk children such as those who require repeated blood transfusions.

Aim: The aim of this study was to find the prevalence of HIV among transfused children with sickle cell anemia in Enugu.

Subjects and methods: This is a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at the Sickle Cell Clinic of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu Sixty-nine transfused children with SCA were enrolled after obtaining consent from their caregivers and assent from older children. Non transfused children matched for age, sex, and social status with the subjects served as control. Voluntary counseling and testing were then provided. Relevant data were obtained using pretested questionnaire. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 11 (Chicago, IL) was used for data analysis. The chi-square was used to test for significant association of categorical variables and a P-value of less than 0.05 accepted as significant.

Results: HIV antibodies were found in 2.9% (2/69) of the subjects and in 1.6% (1/64) of the control (P = 0.604). All the infected individuals among the subjects were males, had only been transfused once and were from the lower socioeconomic class. The only infected child from the control group was a 7-year-old male and he probably acquired it through vertical transmission since the mother also tested positive to HIV antibody.

Conclusions: Blood transfusion is still a risk factor for HIV transmission among children with sickle cell anemia in Nigeria. Strategies that will ensure improved blood transfusion safety at health facilities need to be strengthened.

Keywords: Blood transfusion; HIV infection; Sickle cell anemia.