Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Pediatr. 1997 Jun;130(6):915-22.

Impaired early growth of infants perinatally infected with human immunodeficiency virus: correlation with viral load.

Author information

Divisions of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, New York University Medical Center, New York 10016, USA.



To evaluate the effect of viral load on the early growth of infants infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


Plasma concentrations of p24-antigen and HIV ribonucleic acid were measured retrospectively and correlated with growth parameters for the first 18 months of life in a cohort of 47 term infants born to HIV-infected mothers prospectively enrolled in a study of perinatal HIV transmission. Comparisons of the mean weight and length of the 18 HIV-infected and 29 uninfected infants for each interval and across intervals were made. Viral load was correlated with standard deviation scores. Infants were stratified by high and low viral load during the first 6 months of life.


At birth, no difference in weight and length was observed between HIV-infected and uninfected infants. Between birth and 6 months of age, the infected infants grew less rapidly than the uninfected infants, a finding temporally associated with an exponential increase in HIV viremia. The linear growth of infected infants remained consistently less than that of the uninfected infants after 6 months of life, although the differences were no longer statistically significant and tended to decrease with age in parallel with declines in viral load. The median plasma concentration of HIV ribonucleic acid was significantly higher at 3, 6, 12, and 18 months in infected infants in whom growth failure developed. Infants who had a high viral load in the first 6 months of life were significantly more likely to have severe growth failure. Though the mean SD for weight of the infected infants was always less than that of the uninfected infants, the differences were small and not significant.


Our results confirm the observation that stunting is an early frequent finding in perinatal HIV infection. The deleterious effect of HIV on linear growth appears to be correlated with the level of postnatal HIV viremia, although the exact mechanism of this association remains to be elucidated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center