Prevalence of HIV infection among siblings of HIV positive children in Calabar, Nigeria
Introduction: early diagnosis and treatment of paediatric HIV is key as mortality of untreated patients is very high in the first two years of life, and reaches 80% by four years. Case finding efforts for children especially outside Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) is inadequate. Targeting siblings of index HIV-exposed and infected children is an important way of improving identification and enrolment into care thereby reducing paediatric mortality. The study therefore aimed to determine the prevalence of HIV infection among siblings of HIV positive children in care in Calabar.
Methods: this descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among children aged six weeks to 15 years who are siblings of HIV positive children receiving care. Parental consent and child assent were obtained, the children were tested for HIV at their homes irrespective of their prior test results. Ethical clearance certificates were obtained from the health institutions.
Results: siblings of 401 index patients were tested for HIV, four were positive giving a prevalence rate of 1%. Three hundred and sixty-seven 367(91.5%) had been tested previously while 34(8.5%) never had HIV test. Among the siblings who were HIV positive, 1(0.3%) was a male while 3(0.7%) were females. There were more HIV positive siblings in the 11-15 years age group.
Conclusion: all the four HIV positive siblings were from the lower socioeconomic class (p=0.022). The routine screening of siblings of HIV positive children should be sustained with focus on adolescents from the lower socioeconomic class. This will improve early identification and enrolment into care thereby reducing paediatric mortality.