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Undernutrition Among HIV-Positive Children In Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: Antiretroviral Therapy Alone is Not Enough
BMC Public Health (2011)
  • Bruno F. Sunguya
  • Krishna C. Poudel, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
  • Keiko Otsuka
  • Junko Yasuoka
  • Linda B. Mlunde
  • David P. Urassa
  • Namala P. Mkopi
  • Masamine Jimba
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has exacerbated the impact of childhood undernutrition in many developing countries, including Tanzania. Even with the provision of antiretroviral therapy, undernutrition among HIV-positive children remains a serious problem. Most studies to examine risk factors for undernutrition have been limited to the general population and ART-naive HIV-positive children, making it difficult to generalize findings to ART-treated HIV-positive children. The objectives of this study were thus to compare the proportions of undernutrition among ART-treated HIV-positive and HIV-negative children and to examine factors associated with undernutrition among ART-treated HIV-positive children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
From September to October 2010, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among 213 ART-treated HIV-positive and 202 HIV-negative children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We measured the children's anthropometrics, socio-demographic factors, food security, dietary habits, diarrhea episodes, economic status, and HIV clinical stage. Data were analyzed using both univariate and multivariate methods.
ART-treated HIV-positive children had higher rates of undernutrition than their HIV-negative counterparts. Among the ART-treated HIV-positive children, 78 (36.6%) were stunted, 47 (22.1%) were underweight, and 29 (13.6%) were wasted. Households of ART-treated HIV-positive children exhibited lower economic status, lower levels of education, and higher percentages of unmarried caregivers with higher unemployment rates. Food insecurity was prevalent in over half of ART-treated HIV-positive children's households. Furthermore, ART-treated HIV-positive children were more likely to be orphaned, to be fed less frequently, and to have lower body weight at birth compared to HIV-negative children.
In the multivariate analysis, child's HIV-positive status was associated with being underweight (AOR = 4.61, 95% CI 1.38-15.36 P = 0.013) and wasting (AOR = 9.62, 95% CI 1.72-54.02, P = 0.010) but not with stunting (AOR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.26-1.77, P = 0.428). Important factors associated with underweight status among ART-treated HIV-positive children included hunger (AOR = 9.90, P = 0.022), feeding frequency (AOR = 0.02, p < 0.001), and low birth weight (AOR = 5.13, P = 0.039). Factors associated with wasting among ART-treated HIV-positive children were diarrhea (AOR = 22.49, P = 0.001) and feeding frequency (AOR = 0.03, p < 0.001).
HIV/AIDS is associated with an increased burden of child underweight status and wasting, even among ART-treated children, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In addition to increasing coverage of ART among HIV-positive children, interventions to ameliorate poor nutrition status may be necessary in this and similar settings. Such interventions should aim at promoting adequate feeding patterns, as well as preventing and treating diarrhea.
Publication Date
November 16, 2011
Publisher Statement
DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-869
Citation Information
Bruno F. Sunguya, Krishna C. Poudel, Keiko Otsuka, Junko Yasuoka, et al.. "Undernutrition Among HIV-Positive Children In Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: Antiretroviral Therapy Alone is Not Enough" BMC Public Health Vol. 11 (2011)
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