Résumé : The decentralization of pediatric HIV/AIDS-treatment programs to primary health care centers in rural Africa has lagged behind. In order to guide an analysis of current access to care, a sociological conceptual framework was developed. This framework focused on conditions of seeking pediatric HIV care among community members and initiating pediatric HIV care by primary health care workers (PHCWs). The use of the sociological conceptual framework helped in determining basic research questions and current gaps in knowledge (e.g. the effectiveness and long-term impact of Western counseling models in rural African settings), exploring the need for healthcare level specific research and policy (e.g. in infant HIV-testing), identifying potential pitfalls in decentralizing pediatric HIV treatment programs to rural African communities (e.g. lack of self-confidence in HIV counseling among PHCWs). Consequently, the use of the sociological model is helpful in maximizing efforts and resources allocated to such roll-out. A renewed appreciation for primary health care in general, however, remains crucial for a successful decentralization of pediatric HIV/AIDS-treatment programs to rural Africa. © 2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.