Compromised Growth Among HIV-exposed Uninfected Compared With Unexposed Children in Nigeria

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Background:HIV-exposed but uninfected (HEU) children may be at an increased risk of impaired growth when compared with their HIV-unexposed and uninfected (HUU) counterparts. We compared the growth patterns of HEU to HUU children in Nigeria.Methods:Pregnant women with and without HIV infection were enrolled at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital, Jos, Nigeria. Infants born to these mothers were recruited at birth and the mother–infant pairs followed up for 18 months. Weight, length and head circumference of the infants were measured at each visit. Age- and sex-standardized Z scores were generated for each anthropometric measure using the World Health Organization Child Growth Standards. Children with length-for-age, weight-for-age and weight-for-length Z scores <−2 were classified as stunted, underweight and wasted, respectively.Results:Of 415 children (307 HEU and 108 HUU) recruited for this study, 117 (28.4%), 9 (2.2%) and 32 (7.8%) infants were stunted, underweight and wasted, respectively, at birth. In a multivariable longitudinal analysis, the odds of stunting were higher among HEU as compared with HUU children [adjusted odds ratio: 2.4 (95% confidence interval: 1.4–4.1)]. Similarly, odds of being underweight were higher among the HEU children [adjusted odds ratio: 1.6 (95% confidence interval: 1.1–2.2)].Conclusions:Linear and ponderal growth were more impaired among HEU as compared with HUU children in Nigeria during the first 18 months of life. Further studies are needed to explore the causal basis for these differences.

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