Evidence-based service delivery interventions for testing, linking, treating, and retaining children and adolescents living with HIV in primary health care settings: Protocol for a systematic review

PLoS One. 2022 Jun 16;17(6):e0269063. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269063. eCollection 2022.


Background: At the end of 2019, there were about 2.8 million children and adolescents aged 0-19 living with HIV. In contrast to pregnant women and adults, service delivery for children and adolescents living with HIV continues to lag behind with regard to access to care, components of care delivery, treatment options, and clinical and immunologic outcomes.

Aim: The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize the evidence on the most effective interventions, models, programs, and strategies to optimize the delivery of services for the testing, linkage, treatment and retention of children and adolescents living with HIV globally.

Methods: This review protocol is registered at PROSPERO with Registration number: CRD42020209553. The systematic review will be conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P). We will use a comprehensive search strategy to search several bibliographic databases including MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Global Health, and Psycinfo to identify relevant studies published in the last ten years (2010 to 2020). In addition, we will review cited and citing references of included studies. A pair of reviewers will independently screen titles, abstracts and full texts of articles, extract data from articles meeting inclusion criteria and perform quality assessments of the evidence collected. We will conduct a narrative synthesis of our findings, and if there are sufficient clinically similar studies available, we will conduct meta-analysis using a random-effects model.

Discussion: This review will provide evidence on service delivery models that have been evaluated in a range of settings to efficiently and effectively locate, link, treat and retain in care, children and adolescents living with HIV. The synthesized evidence will help guide national governments and health care providers in prioritizing and adopting evidence-based service delivery approaches for children and adolescents living with HIV.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42020209553.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Pregnancy
  • Primary Health Care
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic