Nutrition and human immunodeficiency virus infection in children
Objectives. To review the relationship between nutrition and paediatric HIV infection, and to discuss treatment options and their applicability to situations with scarce resources.
Results. Growth failure and malnutrition are frequent complications of paediatric lllV infection. Intra-uterine growth of infants born to HIV-seropositive mothers is compromised, and paediatric HIV infection causes early and progressive growth failure throughout childhood. Furthennore, micronutrient deficiencies are widespread and may accelerate immunological deterioration. Dysfunctional gastro-intestinal and metabolic processes underpin many of these growth changes. Although nutritional requirements of HIV-infected children have not yet been optimised, certain interventions such as improving energy intake may improve general well-being while vitamin A supplements reduce infectious complications during the early course of the disease.
Conclusion-. Further research is needed to opfimise the nutritional requirements in children with HIV infection, and to identify specific inicronutrient supplements which may further reduce the frequency and severity of secondary infections.