Suboptimal Viral Suppression Rates Among HIV-Infected Children in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Meta-analysis

Clin Infect Dis. 2016 Dec 15;63(12):1645-1654. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciw645. Epub 2016 Sep 22.


Background: The 90-90-90 goal to achieve viral suppression in 90% of all human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected people on antiretroviral treatment (ART) is especially challenging in children. Global estimates of viral suppression among children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are lacking.

Methods: We searched for randomized controlled trials and observational studies and analyzed viral suppression rates among children started on ART during 3 time periods: early (2000-2005), intermediate (2006-2009), and current (2010 and later), using random effects meta-analysis.

Results: Seventy-two studies, reporting on 51 347 children (aged <18 years), were included. After 12 months on first-line ART, viral suppression was achieved by 64.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 57.5-71.8) in the early, 74.2% (95% CI, 70.2-78.2) in the intermediate, and 72.7% (95% 62.6-82.8) in the current time period. Rates were similar after 6 and 24 months of ART. Using an intention-to-treat analysis, 42.7% (95% CI, 33.7-51.7) in the early, 45.7% (95% CI, 33.2-58.3) in the intermediate, and 62.5% (95% CI, 53.3-72.6) in the current period were suppressed. Long-term follow-up data were scarce.

Conclusions: Viral suppression rates among children on ART in LMICs were low and considerably poorer than those previously found in adults in LMICs and children in high-income countries. Little progress has been made in improving viral suppression rates over the past years. Without increased efforts to improve pediatric HIV treatment, the 90-90-90 goal for children in LMIC will not be reached.

Keywords: HIV-1; LMIC; antiretroviral therapy; pediatrics; viral load.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / economics
  • HIV Infections / virology*
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Poverty Areas
  • Viral Load / drug effects*


  • Anti-HIV Agents