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Simple markers for the detection of severe immunosuppression in children with HIV infection in highly resource settings: experience from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Aketi L, Tshibassu PM, Kayembe PK, Kitetele F, Edidi S, Ekila MB, Wumba R, Lepira FB, Ntetani-Aloni M.
Pathog Glob Health. 2015 Jul 17:2047773215Y0000000025. [Epub ahead of print]


OBJECTIVES:The decision to initiate the antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected children living in poor countries is compromised by lack of resources. The objective of this study is to identify simple clinical and biological markers other than CD4+ count and viral load measurement that could help the decision to introduce antiretroviral treatment and to monitor patients.


A cross sectional study was conducted between January and March 2005 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.


Eighty-four children infected with HIV were recruited. In this cohort, the lymphocytes (P = 0.001) and CD4 (P = 0.0001) were significantly lower in children with immunological stage 3 and viral load (P = 0.027) was significantly higher in children at the same immunological stage. Reticulocytes (r = +0.440), white blood cells count (r = +0.560), total lymphocytes (r = +0.675) and albumin (r = +0.381) showed positive significant correlations with CD4. Haemoglobin (r = - 0.372), Haematocrit (r = - 0.248), red blood cells (r = - 0.278) and CD4 (r = - 0.285) showed negative significant correlations with viral load. Neutropaenia (P = 0.02), enlarged nodes (P = 0.005) and oral candidiasis (P = 0.04) were associated with viral load >10 000 copies/ml. Oral candidiasis (P = 0.02) was associated with CD4 level < 15%.


Oral candidiasis, enlarged nodes, total lymphocytes count, neutropaenia and albumin predict severe immunodepression. These clinical and biological markers may guide the clinician in making the decision to initiate antiretroviral therapy in highly resource-scarce settings.


Africa; Antiretroviral therapy,; CD4,; Children,; HIV,; Highly resource-scarce settings,; Kinshasa,; Simple markers,; The Democratic Republic of Congo,; Viral load,

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