OBJECTIVE: To study the effect of perinatally acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on somatic growth and examine the relationship of nutritional status to mortality in HIV-infected infants. METHOD: Pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic at Mulago hospital in Kampala, Uganda, were enrolled. All live-born babies born to HIV-1 seropositive (HIV+) women, and to every fourth age-matched HIV-1 seronegative (HIV-) woman, were followed for 25 months. RESULTS: The mean weight-for-age and length-for-age curves of HIV+ children were significantly lower than those of HIV- controls and seroeverters. Forty-five (54%) of the 84 HIV+ infants died before their second birthday, as compared with a 1.6% and 5.6% mortality in HIV- and seroeverters. HIV+ infants with an average weight-for-age Z-score below -1.5 in the first year of life have a nearly fivefold risk of dying before 25 months of age compared with noninfected controls. CONCLUSION: Perinatally acquired HIV infection is associated with early and progressive growth failure. The severity of growth failure is associated with an increased risk of mortality. The effect of early, aggressive nutritional intervention in delaying HIV progression and mortality should be evaluated by controlled intervention studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health