Temporal Trends in Co-trimoxazole Use Among Children on Antiretroviral Therapy and the Impact of Co-trimoxazole on Mortality Rates in Children Without Severe Immunodeficiency

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2019 Nov 6;8(5):450-460. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piy087.


Background: Co-trimoxazole is recommended for all children with human immunodeficiency virus. In this analysis, we evaluate trends in pediatric co-trimoxazole use and survival on co-trimoxazole in children using antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods: We used data collected between January 1, 2006, and March 31, 2016, from the International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS. Logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with using co-trimoxazole at ART initiation. Competing risk regression was used to assess factors associated with death.

Results: A total of 54113 children were included in this study. The prevalence of co-trimoxazole use at ART initiation increased from 66.5% in 2006 to a peak of 85.6% in 2010 and then declined to 48.5% in 2015-2016. A similar trend was observed among children who started ART with severe immunodeficiency. After adjusting for year of ART initiation, younger age (odds ratio [OR], 1.18 for <1 vs 1 to <5 years of age [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.09-1.28]), lower height-for-age z score (OR, 1.15 for less than -3 vs greater than -2 [95% CI, 1.08-1.22]), anemia (OR, 1.08 [95% CI, 1.02-1.15]), severe immunodeficiency (OR, 1.25 [95% CI, 1.18-1.32]), and receiving care in East Africa (OR, 8.97 vs Southern Africa [95% CI, 8.17-9.85]) were associated with a high prevalence of co-trimoxazole use. Survival did not differ according to co-trimoxazole use in children without severe immunodeficiency (hazard ratio, 1.01 for nonusers versus users [95% CI, 0.77-1.34]).

Conclusions: Recent declines in co-trimoxazole use may not be linked to the current shift toward early ART initiation. Randomized trial data might be needed to establish the survival benefit of co-trimoxazole in children without severe immunodeficiency.

Keywords: HIV; antiretroviral therapy; children; co-trimoxazole.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-HIV Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / mortality
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Rate
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / administration & dosage*
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / adverse effects


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination