Prevalence and predictors of virological failure in pediatric patients on HAART in sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Antiretroviral treatment failure has emerged as a challenge in the management of pediatric human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients, especially in resource-limited countries despite accessibility to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART). A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to synthesize virological failure (VF) prevalence and ascertain its predictors in children in sub-Saharan Africa. An electronic database search strategy was conducted from January to September 2021 on PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, HINARI, and CINAHL. Further, manual searching was conducted on non-indexed journals. Utilizing the JASPAc version 0.17.2 (2023) statistical software, a meta-analysis of pooled prevalence of VF was estimated using the standardized mean differences. Further, selection models were used to assess the risk of bias and heterogeneity. The pooled odds ratios were estimated for the respective studies reporting on predictors of VF. The overall pooled estimate of the prevalence of VF in sub-Saharan Africa among the sampled population was 29% (95% CI: 27.0–32.0; p<0.001). Predictors of VF were drug resistance (OR: 1.68; 95% CI: 0.88-2.49; p < 0.001), poor adherence (OR: 5.35; 95% CI: 5.26-5.45; p<0.001), nevirapine (NVP)-based regimen (OR: 5.11; 95% CI: 4.66–5.56; p<0.001), non-usage of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (OR: 4.30; 95% CI: 4.13–4.47; p<0.001), higher viral load at the initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART) (OR: 244.32; 95% CI: 244.2–244.47; p<0.001), exposure to the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) (OR: 8.02; 95%CI: 7.58–8.46; p<0.001), increased age/older age (OR: 3.37; 95% CI: 2.704.04; p<0.001), advanced World Health Organization (WHO) stage (OR: 6.57; 95% CI: 6.17–6.98; p<0.001), not having both parents as primary caregivers (OR: 3.01; 95% CI: 2.50–3.53; p<0.001), and tuberclosis (TB) treatment (OR: 4.22; 95% CI: 3.68–4.76; p<0.001). The mean VF prevalence documented is at variance with studies in other developing countries outside the sub-Saharan region. The high prevalence of HIV cases contrasting with the limited expertise in the management of pediatric ART patients could explain this variance.


Machila N, Libonda L, Habineza P, Velu RM, Kamboyi HK, Ndhlovu J, Wamunyima I, Sinadambwe MM, Mudenda S, Zyambo C, Bumbangi FN




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Engagement and Care Cascade
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment


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