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Background: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) pandemic has become a serious public health concern worldwide. The prevalence of paediatric HIV infection is largely unknown in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We aimed to determine the prevalence and predictors of HIV infection among under-5 years children in Muheza District, Tanzania.
Methods: A facility-based study among mothers/guardians with their under-5 years children exposed to HIV infection was conducted from June 2015 to June 2016. Information on HIV status, socio-demographic and other family characteristics was collected using a structured questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using STATA version 13.0.
Results: A total of 576 HIV-exposed under-5 years children were recruited together with their respective mothers/guardians. The HIV prevalence among under-5 years children was 10.6% (95% CI: 8.1-13.1%). The burden of HIV infection was observed among older children aged 25 to 59 months (AOR= 8.0, 95% CI 2.5-26.0) than in the younger children. There was a four-fold (AOR=3.9, 95% CI 1.7-9.1) risk of HIV infection among children born to mothers of unknown HIV status at conception than among children born to mothers with known HIV status. The odds of HIV infection were higher among children who were delivered from home (AOR=2.6, 95% CI 1.0-6.5), received mixed feeding (AOR=2.4, 95% CI 1.2-4.9), and those living far from a health facility (AOR=3.0, 95% CI 1.4-6.5).
Conclusion: The prevalence of HIV among under-5 years children in Muheza is higher among older children. The high prevalence is associated with being born to mothers with unknown HIV status at conception, received mixed feeding, home delivery, and living far from the health facility. Campaigns that provide health educational massages addressing risk factors of HIV need to be emphasised in order to promote the control and prevention of HIV among children.