Treatment of severe acute malnutrition in HIV-infected children
Severe acute malnutrition is defined by a very low weight for height, by visible severe wasting, or by the presence of nutritional oedema. It affects about 20 million children under five years old, and is associated with 1–2 million preventable deaths every year.
There is considerable overlap in presentation of severe acute malnutrition and HIV infection in children, especially in poor areas.
To reduce mortality, WHO recommends that voluntary counselling and testing should be available for children with severe acute malnutrition and for their mothers. If diagnosed as HIV-positive, they should qualify for cotrimoxazole prophylaxis to prevent the risk of contracting pneumonia and other infections, and for antiretroviral therapy when indicated. At the same time, children who are known to be HIV-positive and who develop severe acute malnutrition should have access to therapeutic feeding to improve their nutritional status.
Hospital-based management of severe malnutrition
Status: guidelines under review
Community-based management of severe acute malnutrition [pdf 383kb]
Pocket book of hospital care for children: guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources
Management of the child with a serious infection or severe malnutrition: guidelines for care at the first-referral level in developing countries [pdf 3.1Mb]