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Serum zinc levels in HIV infected children attending the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

IE Yarhere
RO Ugwu
AU Eneh


Background: Zinc deficiency is common in the Paediatric age group but the extent of this disorder is unknown in HIV infected children in Nigeria prompting this study.
Objective: To determine the prevalence of zinc deficiency in HIV seropositive children, and compare this with age and sex matched controls.
Methods: A case control study of 70 HIV sero-positive and age and sex matched HIV sero-negative children was carried out in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital between 1st of June, 2009 and 31st of May, 2010. We collected demographic, clinical, haematological and biochemical parameters from cases and controls, and analysed these using SPSS 20.
Results: Sixty percent of the subjects were zinc deficient as against 41.4% of the controls, p= 0.028. Subjects that were zinc deficient were more likely to be in higher HIV disease stages, p = 0.003, in lower socio-economic classes and aged less than 60 months. We conclude that there is a high prevalence of zinc deficiency in HIV sero-positive children and they should have zinc supplementation immediately they are diagnosed to reduce their morbidity and mortality.

Key words: Zinc deficiency, HIV sero-positive, socio-economic status