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Brain Behav Immun. 1996 Sep;10(3):298-312.

Neurodevelopment, growth, and viral load in HIV-infected infants.

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Department of Pediatrics, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016, USA.


The relation of HIV-1 infection to infant growth and neurodevelopment was studied prospectively in a cohort of 65 infants born to women at risk for HIV infection. No differences were observed at birth between infected infants (INF) and uninfected infants (SR) of HIV-infected women, and infants of uninfected women (SN) with similar socioeconomic background and exposure to drugs. However, postnatal linear growth and cognitive-motor development of INF infants were impaired when compared to SR and SN infants. Declines in linear growth were observed within the first 6 months of life, whereas delays in neurodevelopment were first appreciated at 12 months. In INF infants, decreased linear growth was positively correlated with developmental delay. Moreover, growth and development were both correlated with HIV viral load. INF infants with high plasma HIV RNA copies (> 5 x 10(5)/ ml) at 6 months of life were more likely to exhibit severe growth and developmental delay than infants with a lower viral burden. The implications of these findings with respect to the mechanism of action of HIV-related growth and neurodevelopmental impairments are discussed.

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