Exposure to Antiretroviral Therapy in Utero or Early Life: the Health of Uninfected Children Born to HIV-Infected Women

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Summary:Concerns have been raised over possible adverse effects of prophylactic antiretroviral therapy (ART) on the fetus and newborn. We analyzed data relating to uninfected children enrolled in the European Collaborative Study and investigated the association between ART exposure, perinatal problems, and major adverse health events later in life. Median length of follow-up was 2.2 (0-15.9) years. Of the 2414 uninfected children, 687 (28%) were exposed to ART in all three periods (antenatal, intrapartum, and neonatal). Of the 1008 infants exposed to ART at any time, 906 (90%) were exposed antenatally, 840 (83%) neonatally, and 750 (74%) both antenatally and neonatally. ART exposure was not significantly associated with pattern or prevalence of congenital abnormalities or low birth weight. In multivariate analysis, prematurity was associated with exposure to combination therapy without a protease inhibitor (PI) (OR = 2.66; 95% CI: 1.52-4.67) and with a PI (OR = 4.14; 95% CI: 2.36-7.23). ART exposure was associated with anemia in early life (p < .001). There was no evidence of an association with clinical manifestations suggestive of mitochondrial abnormalities. The absence of serious adverse events in this large cohort of uninfected children exposed to prophylactic ART in the short to medium term is reassuring.

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