Effectiveness of symptom-based diagnostic HIV testing versus targeted and blanket provider-initiated testing and counseling among children and adolescents in Cameroon
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AbstractOBJECTIVES: The concurrent implementation of targeted (tPITC) and blanket provider-initiated testing and counselling (bPITC) is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for HIV case-finding in generalized HIV epidemics. This study assessed the effectiveness of this intervention compared to symptom-based diagnostic HIV testing (DHT) in terms of HIV testing uptake, case detection and antiretroviral therapy (ART) enrollment among children and adolescents in Cameroon, where estimated HIV prevalence is relatively low at 3.7%. METHODS: In three hospitals where DHT was the standard practice before, tPITC and bPITC were implemented by inviting HIV-positive parents in care at the ART clinics to have their biological children (6 weeks-19 years) tested for HIV (tPITC). Concurrently, at the outpatient departments, similarly-age children/adolescents were systematically offered HIV testing via accompanying parents/guardians. The mean monthly number of children tested for HIV, identified HIV-positive and ART-enrolled were used to compare the outcomes of different HIV testing strategies before and after the intervention. RESULTS: In comparing DHT to bPITC, there was a significant increase in the mean monthly number of children/adolescents tested for HIV (223.0 vs 348.3, p = 0.0073), but with no significant increase in the mean monthly number of children/adolescents: testing HIV-positive (10.5 vs 9.7, p = 0.7574) and ART- enrolled (7.3 vs 6.3, p = 0.5819). In comparing DHT to tPITC, there was no significant difference in the mean monthly number of children/adolescents: tested for HIV (223 vs 193.8, p = 0.4648); tested HIV-positive (10.5 vs 10.6, p = 0.9544), and ART-enrolled (7.3 vs 5.8, p = 0.4672). When comparing DHT versus bPITC+tPITC, there was a significant increase in the mean monthly number of children/adolescents: tested for HIV (223.0 to 542.2, p<0.0001), testing HIV-positive (10.5 vs 20.3, p = 0.0256), and ART-enrolled (7.3 vs 12.2, p = 0.0388). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that concurrent implementation of bPITC+tPITC was more effective compared to DHT in terms of HIV testing uptake, case detection and ART enrolment. However, considering that DHT and bPITC had comparable outcomes with regards to case detection and ART enrolment, bPITC+tPITC may not be efficient. Thus, this finding does not support concurrent bPITC+tPITC implementation as recommended by WHO. Rather, continued DHT+tPITC could effectively and efficiently accelerate HIV case detection and ART coverage among children and adolescents in Cameroon and similar low-prevalence context.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttps://www.scopus.com/inward/record.uri?eid=2-s2.0-85065676233&doi=10.1371%2fjournal.pone.0214251&partnerID=40&md5=e7b2baeb18abc0fd08ae9c91595a7532; http://hdl.handle.net/10713/10614