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Free Content WHO clinical criteria–based initiation of antiretroviral therapy: lessons from rural district hospitals in Cameroon with regard to 2009 revised WHO recommendations

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Summary Objective 

To assess the proportion of patients infected with HIV with a CD4 count above 350 cells/mm3 among those classified at WHO clinical stage 3 or 4 who initiated antiretroviral therapy in rural district hospitals in Cameroon to assess the 2009 revised WHO recommendations. Methods 

Cross-sectional study in nine rural district hospitals where the treatment initiation is based on the WHO clinical criteria. The proportion of patients who were classified at stage 3 or 4 and who had a CD4 count >350 cells/mm3 was assessed. Results 

Of 458 patients included in 2006–2008 (women 70.5%; median age 37.0 years), 337 (73.6%) were classified at WHO clinical stage 3 and 121 (26.4%) at stage 4. Overall, 108 patients (23.6%) had a CD4 count >350 cells/mm3. Of them, 94 patients (20.5%) were classified at WHO clinical stage 3, and 14 (3.1%) were classified at WHO clinical stage 4. Conclusion 

The WHO clinical stages 3 and 4 were poorly correlated with the ‘gold standard’ of CD4 cell count. This study highlights the need to promote CD4 testing for assessing the patient eligibility.
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Keywords: Africa; HIV; World Health Organization criteria; antiretroviral therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Central Hospital, Yaoundé, Cameroon 2:  French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yaoundé, Cameroon 3:  IRD, Yaoundé, Cameroon 4:  Virology Laboratory CRESAR/IMPM/IRD, Yaoundé, Cameroon 5:  IRD, University Montpellier 1, UMR 145, Montpellier, France

Publication date: 01 May 2010

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