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,