ObjectivesTo access the costs of care for Ivoirian children before and after initiating LPV/r-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) before the age of two.
MethodsWe assessed the direct costs of care for all HIV-infected children over the first 12 months on LPV/r-based ART initiated <2 years of age in Abidjan. We recorded all drug prescriptions, ART and cotrimoxazole prophylaxis delivery, medical analyses/examinations and hospital admissions. We compared these costs to those accrued in the month prior to ART initiation. Costs and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated per child-month, according to severe morbidity.
ResultsOf the 114 children screened, 99 initiated LPV/r-based ART at a median age of 13.5 months (IQR: 6.8-18.6); 45% had reached World Health Organization stage 3 or 4. During the first 12 months on ART, 5% died and 3% were lost to follow-up. In the month before ART initiation, the mean cost of care per child-month reached $123.39 (95%CI:$121.02-$125.74). After ART initiation, it was $42.53 (95%CI:$42.15-$42.91); 50% were ART costs. The remaining costs were non-antiretroviral drugs (18%) and medical analyses/examinations (14%). Mean costs were significantly higher within the first three months on ART ($48.76, 95%CI:$47.95-$49.56) and in children experiencing severe morbidity ($49.76, 95%CI:$48.61-50.90).
ConclusionART reduces the overall monthly cost of care of HIV-infected children < 2 years. Because children were treated at an advanced HIV disease stage, the additional costs of treating severe morbidity on ART remain substantial. Strategies for treating HIV-infected children as early as possible must remain a priority in Côte d'Ivoire.
SUBMITTER: Desmonde S