Candidiasis is the most common opportunistic infection seen in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals. The aim of our study was to estimate the candidiasis rate and evaluate its trend in HIV-infected children in Spain during the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) compared to HIV-uninfected children.
We carried out a retrospective study. Data were obtained from the records of the Minimum Basic Data Set from hospitals in Spain. All HIV-infected children were under 17 years of age, and a group of HIV-uninfected children with hospital admissions matching the study group by gender and age were randomly selected. The follow-up period (1997–2008) was divided into three calendar periods: a) From 1997 to 1999 for early-period HAART; b) from 2000 to 2002 for mid-period HAART; and c) from 2003 to 2008 for late-period HAART.
Among children with hospital admissions, HIV-infected children had much higher values than HIV-uninfected children during each of the three calendar periods for overall candidiasis rates (150.0 versus 6.1 events per 1,000 child hospital admissions/year (p < 0.001), 90.3 versus 3.1 (p < 0.001), and 79.3 versus 10.7 (p < 0.001), respectively) and for non-invasive Candida mycosis (ICM) rates (118.5 versus 3.8 (p < 0.001), 85.3 versus 2.3 (p < 0.001), and 80.6 versus 6.0 (p < 0.001), respectively). In addition, HIV-infected children also had higher values of ICM rates than HIV-uninfected children, except during the last calendar period when no significant difference was found (32.4 versus 1.2 (p < 0.001), 11.6 versus 0.4 (p < 0.001), and 4.6 versus 2.3 (p = 0.387), respectively). For all children living with HIV/AIDS, the overall candidiasis rate (events per 1,000 HIV-infected children/year) decreased from 1997–1999 to 2000–2002 (18.8 to 10.6; p < 0.001) and from 2000–2002 to 2003–2008 (10.6 to 5.7; p = 0.060). Within each category of candidiasis, both non-ICM and ICM rates experienced significant decreases from 1997–1999 to 2003–2008 (15.9 to 5.7 (p < 0.001) and 4.1 to 0.3 (p < 0.001), respectively).
Although the candidiasis rate still remains higher than in the general population (from 1997 to 2008), candidiasis diagnoses have decreased among HIV-infected children throughout the HAART era, and it has ceased to be a major health problem among children with HIV infection.