Antiretroviral therapy contributes to decreasing morbidity and mortality, and ultimately to increasing survival. In Brazil, there are regional differences in HIV epidemiology regarding pregnant women and children with HIV/AIDS. This study evaluates survival time after AIDS diagnosis in 914 children infected by mother-to-child transmission, reported between 1983 and 1998 and followed until 2002, in Brazil's five regions. Time between birth and HIV diagnosis decreased over the years, mainly in the South and Southeast Regions. There was a significant improvement in survival; more than 75% of cases were still living four years after diagnosis in the 1997-1998 group. This Brazilian study demonstrates that even with regional inequalities in health care infrastructure it is possible for a developing country to establish an effective system of universal and free access to antiretroviral therapy that produces a significant increase in survival for children with AIDS.
Advances in management and treatment have made a great difference in the survival of Brazilian children with AIDS. These results argue strongly for making such treatment available to children in the entire developing world.
We present a systematic review of historical, political, and epidemiologic aspects of AIDS in Brazilian children. Over 25 years, Brazil has developed different strategies to control AIDS in children. Three revisions of criteria for defining AIDS cases in children and nine national guidelines on antiretroviral therapy administration for management of HIV infection were published. These guidelines represent important progress, including aspects of HIV/AIDS surveillance, antiretroviral treatment, opportunistic conditions, prophylaxis, and laboratory testing. Brazil has significantly expanded access to free therapy with different classes of antiretroviral drugs. Initially focusing on treatment for HIV and opportunistic conditions, the scope of treatment guidelines gradually expanded to comprehensive health care for children and adolescents. From 1996 to 2008, the number of AIDS cases and deaths in children has been reduced by 67% and 65%, respectively, as a result of different strategies to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and highly active antiretroviral therapy administration to infected children. Improved morbidity, mortality, and survival of Brazilian children with AIDS demonstrate clear benefits of adopting a policy of free and universal access to antiretroviral drugs associated with comprehensive care. However, important issues remain to be resolved, mainly concerning social, operational, and regional inequalities in coverage and quality of care, and epidemiological surveillance in different regions of the country. This broad review shows that the overall situation of pediatric AIDS in Brazil represents an incomplete process of epidemiologic and demographic transition, with the coexistence of old and new clinical and epidemiologic challenges.
There is a decreasing trend of HIV vertical transmission in São Paulo with levels approaching elimination, which seems to be associated with antiretroviral policy and interruption of breastfeeding. Although there are serious operational issues, conditions exist to respond effectively. São Paulo state demonstrates that it is possible to achieve advanced levels of control for this mode of HIV transmission.
The objective of this study is to characterize survival in children with AIDS diagnosed in Brazil between 1999-2002, compared with the first national study (1983-1998). This national retrospective cohort study examined a representative sample of Brazilian children exposed to HIV from mother-to-child transmission and followed through 2007. The survival probability after 60 months was analyzed by sex, year of birth and death, clinical classification, use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and prophylaxis for opportunistic diseases. 920 children were included. The survival probability increased: comparing cases diagnosed before 1988 with those diagnosed from 2001-2002 it increased by 3.5-fold (from 25% to 86.3%). Use of ART, initial clinical classification, and final classification were significant (p < 0.001) predictors of survival. Issues regarding quality of records and care were identified. The results point to the success of the Brazilian policy of providing ART. The improvement of clinical status contributes to quality of life, while indicating challenges, particularly practices to improve long-term care.
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