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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1996 May;15(5):438-42.

Clinical spectrum of human immunodeficiency virus disease in children in a west African city. Project RETRO-CI.

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Projet RETRO-CI, Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.



To determine the prevalence of HIV infection in children and to compare diagnostic syndromes and outcomes in HIV-positive and HIV-negative children.


Consecutive children hospitalized in Abidjan's three university hospitals were examined, tested for HIV infection and followed to discharge. Admission or discharge diagnoses and outcome (survived or died) were compared in HIV-positive and HIV-negative children.


The prevalence of HIV infection in the 4480 children hospitalized for the first time was 8.2%; the highest age-specific rate (11.2%) was in children ages 15 to 23 months. Six clinical syndromes accounted for more than 80% of admissions in HIV-positive and -negative children (all ages combined): respiratory infection; malnutrition; malaria; anemia; diarrhea; and meningitis. The dominant syndromic diagnoses in HIV-positive children were respiratory infection (26.1%) and malnutrition (25.8%); in HIV-negative children they were malaria (30.4%) and respiratory infection (19.1%). The overall mortality rate in HIV-positive children was 20.8%, compared with 8.7% in HIV-negative children (relative risk, 2.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 3.1); the highest death rate (28.1%) was in children younger than 15 months.


Clinical syndromes associated with HIV infection in African children are difficult to recognize without access to HIV serology. Respiratory infection and malnutrition were the dominant clinical syndromes in HIV-positive children in Abidjan. Greater overlap exists between the clinical presentations of HIV-associated disease and other common health problems in African children than in adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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