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AIDS Care. 2010 Jul;22(7):858-65. doi: 10.1080/09540120903483018.

Poor health-related quality of life and abnormal psychosocial adjustment in Italian children with perinatal HIV infection receiving highly active antiretroviral treatment.

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Cattedra di Neuropsichiatria dell'Infanzia e dell'Adolescenza, Universita di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.


To evaluate health-related quality of life (HRQL), social competence, and behavioral problems in children with perinatal HIV infection receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a cross-sectional study was performed at the Department of Pediatrics, University of Brescia. We evaluated HRQL, social competence, and behavioral problems in 27 HIV-infected children compared with age and sex-matched control subjects using the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) and the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), respectively. On the PedsQL 4.0 Generic Core Scale, HIV-infected subjects displayed significantly reduced physical (p=0.043) and psychosocial health (p=0.021) functioning, particularly at school (p=0.000), compared with healthy subjects, resulting in a significantly reduced total score (p=0.013). Assessment of social competence and the behavioral features of HIV-infected children by means of the CBCL revealed severe limitations of functioning in HIV-infected children who had impaired social ability. Children with HIV-RNA above the threshold level of 50 had higher scores on the CBCL delinquent behavior (p=0.021) and school competence (p=0.025) subsets. Although the introduction of HAART regimens has prolonged the survival of HIV-infected children, other factors, including disease morbidity and familial and environmental conditions, negatively affect their quality of life, thereby contributing to increased risk for behavioral problems.

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