Author(s): Banerjee T, Pensi T, Banerjee D, Grover G
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Abstract BACKGROUND: In resource-limited countries, use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in HIV-infected children is still poorly documented in terms of impact on survival, the immune system and growth. Since the availability of HAART, nutrition of HIV-infected children has been neglected. AIM: To evaluate the effect of HAART on survival and immune response in HIV-infected children and to investigate the response to nutritional support. METHODS: In December, 2002 a cohort study was carried out on vertically HIV-1-infected children and was observed longitudinally for CD4(+) T-cell count, antiretroviral treatment and weight until 31 December 2007. Z-scores were calculated for CD4(+) T-cell count to account for age-related differences. Nutritional supplementation was given to all the HIV-infected children and resting energy expenditure (REE) was calculated. Mortality rates were also calculated for the perinatally infected children followed up at the HIV clinic. RESULTS: A total of 180 children were assessed, 100 (56\%) of whom were on HAART. Baseline body mass index was lower in the HAART group (p<0.05). Median duration of survival from date of diagnosis was 15.1 years. Those who received HAART survived significantly longer. The average annual mortality rate was 1.2\% during 2005-2006. During HAART, a CD4 Z-score increase of 1 SD was associated with a 0.35 increase in body weight Z-score (p<0.001). The increase in daily energy intake owing to nutritional supplementation was associated with increase in weight Z-score in both the no-HAART and HAART group. REE was independently associated with weight change in the models which tested association of changes in CD4(+) T-cell Z-score and daily REE/kg body weight with changes in body weight Z-score in both the HAART and no-HAART group and then separately in the two groups (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: Survival rates of children improved which correlated with an increase in CD4(+) T-cell count concurrent with the expanded use of HAART. HAART had a positive effect on growth in HIV-1-infected children. Nutrition supplementation improved the health of children in both the no-HAART and HAART groups.
This article was published in Ann Trop Paediatr
and referenced in Clinics in Mother and Child Health