OBJECTIVE: To determine the nosocomial risk of HIV infection in infants and children in developing countries.
METHODS: Children aged 6-59 months admitted to paediatric medical care units and their mothers were recruited for the study. Blood samples for HIV serology for mother and child were taken, and for the child, information on skin piercing and other hospital procedures was collected. For each HIV seropositive child with a seronegative mother, two matched controls were identified from the group of seronegative children with seronegative mothers.
RESULTS: A total of 5,593 mother-child pairs were recruited among whom 61 (1%) were HIV seropositive children with seronegative mothers. Of these, 14 (23%) had history of previous hospitalization, 3 (5%) had received blood transfusion, 44 (72%) had had IM/IV injections, and 4 (7%) had uvulectomy. For the 122 controls these procedures were reported in 23 (19%), 3 (2%), 79 (65%) and 6 (5%) respectively. Although these procedures were more common in cases than controls the differences were not statistically significant.
CONCLUSION: The risk of nosocomial and non-perinatally acquired HIV infection appears low among these populations.