Objective: To determine, for the WHO algorithm for point-of-care diagnosis of HIV infection, the agreement levels between paediatricians and non-physician clinicians, and to compare sensitivity and specificity profiles of the WHO algorithm and different CD4 thresholds against HIV PCR testing in hospitalised Malawian infants. Methods: In 2011, hospitalised HIV-exposed infants <12 months in Lilongwe, Malawi, were evaluated independently with the WHO algorithm by both a paediatrician and clinical officer. Blood was collected for CD4 and molecular HIV testing (DNA or RNA PCR). Using molecular testing as the reference, sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) were determined for the WHO algorithm and CD4 count thresholds of 1500 and 2000 cells/mm3 by paediatricians and clinical officers. Results: We enrolled 166 infants (50% female, 34% <2 months, 37% HIV infected). Sensitivity was higher using CD4 thresholds (<1500, 80%; <2000, 95%) than with the algorithm (physicians, 57%; clinical officers, 71%). Specificity was comparable for CD4 thresholds (<1500, 68%, <2000, 50%) and the algorithm (paediatricians, 55%, clinical officers, 50%). The positive predictive values were slightly better using CD4 thresholds (<1500, 59%, <2000, 52%) than the algorithm (paediatricians, 43%, clinical officers 45%) at this prevalence. Conclusion: Performance by the WHO algorithm and CD4 thresholds resulted in many misclassifications. Point-of-care CD4 thresholds of <1500 cells/mm3 or <2000 cells/mm3 could identify more HIV-infected infants with fewer false positives than the algorithm. However, a point-of-care option with better performance characteristics is needed for accurate, timely HIV diagnosis.
- Clinical algorithm
- Early infant diagnosis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases