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Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Mar;56(5):735-44. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis941. Epub 2012 Nov 21.

Mortality and treatment outcomes of China's National Pediatric antiretroviral therapy program.

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  • 1National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, PR China.



The aim of this study was to describe 3-year mortality rates, associated risk factors, and long-term clinical outcomes of children enrolled in China's national free pediatric antiretroviral therapy (ART) program.


Records were abstracted from the national human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS case reporting and national pediatric ART databases for all HIV-positive children ≤15 years old who initiated ART prior to December 2010. Mortality risk factors over 3 years of follow-up were examined using Cox proportional hazards regression models. Life tables were used to determine survival rate over time. Longitudinal plots of CD4(+) T-cell percentage (CD4%), hemoglobin level, weight-for-age z (WAZ) score, and height-for-age z (HAZ) score were created using generalized estimating equation models.


Among the 1818 children included in our cohort, 93 deaths were recorded in 4022 child-years (CY) of observed time for an overall mortality rate of 2.31 per 100 CY (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.75-2.78). The strongest factor associated with mortality was baseline WAZ score <-2 (adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 9.1; 95% CI, 2.5-33.2), followed by World Health Organization stage III or IV disease (adjusted HR = 2.4; 95% CI, 1.1-5.2), and hemoglobin <90 g/L (adjusted HR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.2-3.9). CD4%, hemoglobin level, WAZ score, and HAZ score increased over time.


Our finding that 94% of children engaged in this program are still alive and of improved health after 3 years of treatment demonstrates that China's national pediatric ART program is effective. This program needs to be expanded to better meet treatment demands, and efforts to identify HIV-positive children earlier must be prioritized.

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