Assessment of Physical Growth in Male Children Infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy in Abakaliki
Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection causes a derangement in growth. Antiretrovirals promote immune function restoration and improvement in the quality of life. Variables such as poor adherence to drugs and unsuppressed viral load may negatively influence growth in HIV-infected children. The study aimed at determining the growth in HIV-infected males aged 8–17 years in Abakaliki who were on antiretrovirals.
Methods: Acase–control hospital-based study, involving 80 HIV-infected males aged 8–17 years who were matched for age and socioeconomic class with 80 HIV‑uninfected controls. Growth parameters including the heights, weights, and body mass index (BMI) of subjects and controls were measured, and Z scores for age derived for height, weight, and BMI.
Results: The mean height of subjects (1.420 ± 0.18 m) was significantly lower than that of controls (1.515 ± 0.17 m). The mean weight of subjects (35.09 ± 12.48 kg) was significantly low compared to controls (42.21 ± 12.95 kg). A significant difference was documented in the mean BMI for age among subjects (16.78 ± 2.12 kg/m2 ) and controls (17.93 ± 2.27 kg/m2 ). There was a significant relationship between CD4 count and growth (BMI) (P = 0.006) and between duration on highly active antiretroviral therapy and growth (P = 0.024).
Conclusion: HIV‑infected males had significantly impaired growth despite the use of antiretroviral drugs.
Keywords: Children, human immunodeficiency virus antiretroviral drugs, males, physical growth