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HIV-infected and uninfected children who survived their first year of life were prospectively followed in Malawi to assess levels of mortality and related risk factors during the second and third years of life.Children with known HIV status from an earlier perinatal intervention trial were enrolled. These children [HIV-infected (Group A); HIV-uninfected but born to HIV-seropositive mothers (Group B); and children born to HIV-seronegative mothers (Group C)] were followed every 3 months until age 36 months. Mortality data were collected at each visit. Immunologic data (CD4+ percent) were collected at or immediately after enrollment.Overall 702 children were enrolled and 83 children died during follow-up. The mortality rate per 1000 person years of observation was 339.3 among Group A children, 46.3 among Group B children and 35.7 among Group C children. Among HIV-infected children the cumulative proportion surviving to age 24 months was 70% and those surviving to age 36 months was 55%. By age 32 months none of the severely immunosuppressed (CD4% <15%) children had survived. The mortality differentials between HIV-infected and uninfected children persisted after adjusting for several risk factors. The major causes of death among infected children (n = 52) were wasting and respiratory conditions.Although all HIV-infected children had received childhood immunizations, mortality was high. Management of these children should include aggressive antimicrobial treatment, and evaluation of prophylactic regimens should be considered.