Wamepotea" (they have become lost): outcomes of HIV-positive and HIV-exposed children lost to follow-up from a large HIV treatment program in western Kenya."
Jul 1 2011
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to identify the vital status and reasons for children becoming loss to follow-up (LTFU) from a large program in western Kenya.
METHODS: This was a prospective evaluation of a random sample of 30% of HIV-exposed and HIV-positive children LTFU from either an urban or rural HIV Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare clinic. LTFU is defined as absence from clinic for >6 months if on combination antiretroviral therapy and > 12 months if not. Experienced community health workers were engaged to locate them.
RESULTS: There were 97 children sampled (78 urban, 19 rural). Of these, 82% were located (78% urban, 100% rural). Among the HIV positive, 16% of the children were deceased, and 16% had not returned to clinic because of disclosure issues/discrimination in the family or community. Among the HIV exposed, 30% never returned to care because their guardians either had not disclosed their own HIV status or were afraid of family/community stigma related to their HIV status or that of the child. Among children whose HIV status was unknown, 29% of those found had actually died, and disclosure/discrimination accounted for 14% of the reasons for becoming LTFU. Other reasons included believing the child was healed by faith or through the use of traditional medicine (7%), transport costs (6%), and transferring care to other programs or clinics (8%).
CONCLUSION: After locating >80% of the children in our sample, we identified that mortality and disclosure issues including fear of family or community discrimination were the most important reasons why these children became LTFU.
PMID: 21407085 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]