Background: With the increasing HIV seroprevalence among women of childbearing age in sub-Saharan Africa, limited data on growth outcomes of HIV exposed infants under current policies of universal maternal antiretroviral therapy exist. Methods: The longitudinal growth patterns of 114 HIV exposed and unexposed infants were assessed and compared. The prevalence and factors associated with malnutrition were established. Infants under prevention of mother to child transmission care were recruited at 6 weeks post-delivery as were their HIV unexposed counterparts. Weight and length measurements were recorded at birth, 6 and 16 weeks postpartum. Results: HIV vertical transmission rate was 8.8%. HIV exposed infants had significantly lower mean birth weights compared to HIV unexposed infants (2.9 ± 0.3; 3.2 ± 0.5; P <.001) respectively. Mean weight/length-for-age z-scores for HIV exposed, uninfected (HEU) infants were significantly below those of the HIV unexposed infants during follow up. By 6 weeks of age, 28.5% of HEU infants were malnourished while no malnutrition was evident in HIV unexposed infants. A gestational age <37 weeks (OR: 3.83; 95% CI: 1.03-14.30; P =.045) and HIV exposure (OR: 1.62; 95% CI: 0.17-15.73; P =.017) substantially increased the risk of stunting. Conclusion: Growth deficits were witnessed in HIV exposed infants compared to HIV unexposed infants. There is need for early nutritional monitoring and support among HIV exposed infants.
- antiretroviral therapy