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HIV Med. 2010 Apr;11(4):245-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2009.00768.x. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Opportunistic infections and organ-specific diseases in HIV-1-infected children: a cohort study (1990-2006).

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Pediatric Immunology Department, Getafe Hospital, Madrid, Spain.



Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has dramatically changed the natural history of HIV infection in children, but there are few studies in the literature about the incidence of clinical manifestations after HAART in this population, compared with adults. The aim of this study was to describe the influence of the widespread use of HAART on the development of opportunistic infections and organ-specific diseases in HIV-infected children.


An observational study of a cohort of 366 vertically HIV-infected children followed from 1990 to 2006 was carried out. According to the main antiretroviral protocol used, three calendar periods (CPs) were defined and compared: CP1 (1990-1996: no patients on HAART), CP2 (1997-1999: <60% on HAART) and CP3 (2000-2006: >60% on HAART).


Children experienced a progressive increase in CD4 T cell count (P<0.05) and a decrease in HIV viral load from 1996 onwards (P<0.05). Similarly, rates of death, AIDS, opportunistic infections (bacteraemia, candidosis, cryptosporidiosis and bacterial pneumonia) and organ-specific diseases (wasting syndrome, thrombocytopenia, cardiomyopathy, lymphoid interstitial pneumonia and HIV-associated encephalopathy) were lower in CP2 and CP3 than in CP1.


This study provides evidence of improved clinical outcomes in HIV-infected children over time and shows that mortality, AIDS, opportunistic infections and organ-specific diseases declined as HAART was progressively instituted in this population.

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