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J Infect Dis. 2006 Oct 15;194(8):1089-97. Epub 2006 Sep 11.

Effect of perinatal antiretroviral drug exposure on hematologic values in HIV-uninfected children: An analysis of the women and infants transmission study.

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  • 1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA.



With the increasing use of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), large numbers of infants are exposed, with possible consequent toxicity.


Hematologic values in 1820 uninfected HIV- and ARV-exposed children were compared with those in 351 ARV-unexposed children from the Women and Infants Transmission Study. Hemoglobin concentrations and platelet, neutrophil, lymphocyte, and CD4+ and CD8+ cell counts were analyzed at birth and ages 2, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Multivariate analysis was conducted age 0-2 and 6-24 months, with adjustment for multiple cofactors.


Hemoglobin concentrations and neutrophil, lymphocyte, and CD4+ cell counts were significantly lower at age 0-2 months in infants exposed to ARV drugs than in those who were not. At 6-24 months, differences in hemoglobin concentrations and neutrophil counts were no longer significant, whereas differences in platelet, lymphocyte, and CD4+ cell counts persisted and CD8+ cell counts became significantly lower. In comparison with ARV monotherapy, combination therapy was associated with larger decreases in neutrophil, lymphocyte, and CD8+ cell counts at age 0-2 months but with only differences in CD8+ cell counts at age 6-24 months. Clinically significant abnormalities were rare and did not differ by exposure to ARV drugs.


Infants exposed to ARV drugs have small but significant differences in several hematologic parameters for the first 24 months of life. These results indicate the need for long-term follow-up of uninfected infants with ARV exposure.

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