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Introduction: Systematic testing is considered a good tool to decrease HIV-related morbidity and mortality. To be efficiently implemented in children, this testing needs to be accepted by parents. The objective of this study was to measure the acceptability of HIV testing by the parents of children seen on routine health visitor admitted to hospital.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional prospective, descriptive and analytic study carried out at the pediatric ward of the university hospital CNHU-HKM of Cotonou, Benin, from 1st March to 31st August 2010. HIV testing was proposed, after counseling, to a group of 312 parents (mother or father) of apparently healthy children recruited at immunization clinic or on routinehealth visit, and to another group of 376 parents of sick children admitted to hospitalization.
Results: Eighty-three point four percent of children seen on routinehealth visits and 34.4% of those hospitalized were less than 12 months old (age limits of 1-84 months and 1-180 months respectively). Sex ratio was 1.04 and 1.24 in respective groups. Among parents addressed, there were one father in the healthy children’s group and 98 in the hospitalized one’s group. HIV testing acceptability was 95.8% in the healthychildren’s group (n=199) and 49.2% in the hospitalized children’s group (n=191). Mothers of hospitalized children were less receptive to the testing (31.65%, n=88) than those of apparently healthy children (4.2%, n=13) [p<10-9]. The testwas positive to HIV1 in eight children (2.5%) of the healthy children’s group and in 25 of the hospitalized one’s group (6.7%) and there were three cases of co-infection HIV1-HIV2.
Conclusion: HIV testing is better accepted by parents of healthy children than by those of sick ones at the university hospital CNHU-HKM of Cotonou. This testing can be used to control HIV though early diagnosis and management of the disease.