Why is it important to determine the HIV status of each child that dies?

An assessment of the HIV status of each under-5 deaths should be made. Otherwise children who have died with AIDS may be misclassified. Often the HIV status of children who die is not known. As a result, the role of HIV infection is missed.

Clinical signs of HIV infection must always be looked for and documented. If possible the child’s HIV and immunological status should also be determined.

Children with definite or probable HIV infection can be classified into:

  • Definite HIV infection with both clinical signs of HIV infection and positive HIV status
  • Children with probable HIV infection who have clinical signs of HIV infection but an unknown HIV status (i.e. blood test not done)

The HIV status of all children who die must be assessed whenever possible.

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