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Validation of World Health Organisation HIV/AIDS clinical staging in predicting initiation of antiretroviral therapy and clinical predictors of low CD4 cell count in Uganda.

  • Author(s): Baveewo, Steven
  • Ssali, Francis
  • Karamagi, Charles
  • Kalyango, Joan N
  • Hahn, Judith A
  • Ekoru, Kenneth
  • Mugyenyi, Peter
  • Katabira, Elly
  • et al.
Abstract

INTRODUCTION: The WHO clinical guidelines for HIV/AIDS are widely used in resource limited settings to represent the gold standard of CD4 counts for antiviral therapy initiation. The utility of the WHO-defined stage 1 and 2 clinical factors used in WHO HIV/AIDS clinical staging in predicting low CD4 cell count has not been established in Uganda. Although the WHO staging has shown low sensitivity for predicting CD4<200 cells/mm(3), it has not been evaluated at for CD4 cut-offs of <250 cells/mm(3) or <350 cells/mm(3). OBJECTIVE: To validate the World Health Organisation HIV/AIDS clinical staging in predicting initiation of antiretroviral therapy in a low-resource setting and to determine the clinical predictors of low CD4 cell count in Uganda. RESULTS: Data was collected on 395 participants from the Joint Clinical Research Centre, of whom 242 (61.3%) were classified as in stages 1 and 2 and 262 (68%) were females. Participants had a mean age of 36.8 years (SD 8.5). We found a significant inverse correlation between the CD4 lymphocyte count and WHO clinical stages. The sensitivity the WHO clinical staging at CD4 cell count of 250 cells/mm(3) and 350 cells/mm(3) was 53.5% and 49.1% respectively. Angular cheilitis, papular pruritic eruptions and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections were found to be significant predictors of low CD4 cell count among participants in WHO stage 1 and 2. CONCLUSION: The WHO HIV/AIDS clinical staging guidelines have a low sensitivity and about half of the participants in stages 1 and 2 would be eligible for ART initiation if they had been tested for CD4 count. Angular cheilitis and papular pruritic eruptions and recurrent upper respiratory tract infections may be used, in addition to the WHO staging, to improve sensitivity in the interim, as access to CD4 machines increases in Uganda.

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