Scientific article
Open access

Factors associated with the risk of HIV infection among HIV-exposed infants in Malawi : 2013-2020

Published inBMJ paediatrics open, vol. 6, no. 1, e001275
Publication date2022-01

Background: Despite the availability of individual-level data of infants accessing HIV DNA-PCR testing service, there has been little in-depth analysis of such data. Therefore, we describe trends in risk of HIV infection among Malawi's HIV-exposed infants (HEI) with DNA-PCR HIV test result from 2013 to 2020.

Methods: This is an implementation study using routinely collected patient-level HIV DNA-PCR test result data extracted from the national Laboratory Management Information System database managed by the Department of HIV/AIDS between 1 January 2013 and 30 June 2020. We calculated frequencies, proportions and odds ratio (OR) with their associated 95% CI. We performed a random-effects logistic regression to determine the risk factors associated with HIV infection in infants, controlling for the spatial autocorrelation between districts and adjusting for other variables.

Results: We evaluated 255 229 HEI across 750 facilities in 28 districts. The HIV DNA-PCR test was performed within 2 months in 57% of the children. The overall HIV prevalence among all tested HEI between 2013 and 2020 was 7.2% (95% CI 7.1% to 7.3%). We observed a decreasing trend in the proportion of HEI that tested HIV positive from 7.0% (95% CI 6.6% to 7.4%) in 2013 to 5.7% (95% CI 5.4% to 5.9%) in 2015 followed by an increase to 9.9% (95% CI 9.6% to 10.2%) in 2017 and thereafter a decreasing trend between 2017 (i.e. 9.72% (95%CI: 9.43-10.01)) and 2020 (i.e. 3.86% (95%CI: 3.34-4.37)). The HIV prevalence increased by age of the HEI. There was spatial heterogeneity of HIV prevalence between districts of Malawi. The prevalence of HIV was higher among the HEI from the Northern region of Malawi.

Conclusion: The main findings of the study are that the DNA test is performed within 2 months only in 57% of the children, that the decreasing trend of HIV prevalence among HEI observed up to 2015 was followed by an increase up to 2017 and a decrease afterwards, and that the risk of HIV infection increased with age at HIV testing. We summarised spatial and temporal trends of risk of HIV infection among HEI in Malawi between 2013 and 2020. There is need to ensure that all the HEI are enrolled in HIV care by 8 weeks of age in order to further reduce the risk of HIV in this population.

  • HIV
  • Epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Child
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malawi / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
Citation (ISO format)
NG’AMBI, Wingston Felix et al. Factors associated with the risk of HIV infection among HIV-exposed infants in Malawi : 2013-2020. In: BMJ paediatrics open, 2022, vol. 6, n° 1, p. e001275. doi: 10.1136/bmjpo-2021-001275
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ISSN of the journal2399-9772

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