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Anti-Retroviral Therapies Associated with Reduced Infections in HIV-Infected Children

Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapies, there has been a substantial reduction of opportunistic infections and other infections in HIV-infected children,// such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, according to a study.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic has spurred the development of new antiretroviral, immune, and vaccine-based therapies geared to block transmission, prevent disease progression, and prolong the survival of individuals who are HIV positive, according to background information in the article. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has dramatically decreased rates of AIDS-related opportunistic infections (infections caused by an organism capable of causing disease in a host whose resistance is lowered, e.g., by other diseases or by drugs) and deaths in adults. Although HAART has dramatically decreased illness and death in HIV-infected infants, children, and adolescents in the United States, no studies comparing the incidence of opportunistic and other related infections before and during the HAART era have been conducted.

Philimon Gona, Ph.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston University, Boston, and colleagues estimated the rates for the first occurrence of 29 targeted opportunistic and other related infections between Jan. 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2004, in HIV-infected infants, children, and adolescents to compare the rates in the HAART era to those of the pre-HAART era. The study included 2,767 children enrolled between Sept. 15, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2004, with information entered in the database up to August 1, 2005, when data analysis was conducted. The pre-HAART era comparison population included 3,331 children enrolled in 13 Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group (PACTG) protocols from October 1988 to August 1998.

Seventy-five percent of the children were enrolled in 2000 and 2001. Overall, 553 first episodes of a specific infection occurred among 395 (14 percen
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