Nutritional Status of Perinatally HIV‑infected Children on Antiretroviral Therapy from a Resource‑poor Rural South African Community

Antonio George Lentoor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: In Sub‑Saharan Africa, millions of children are suffering from HIV
and coexisting child undernutrition. Despite efforts to curb the spread of HIV
through the availability of treatment and various nutritional programmes, it has
been argued that undernutrition remains highly prevalent in rural areas. The
objective of this study was to describe the prevalence and psychosocial factors
influencing the nutritional status in the sample of rural‑based HIV‑infected
children on antiretroviral therapy. Materials and Methods: Anthropometric and home environment data were collected from 152 perinatally HIV‑infected children on antiretroviral therapy who lived with their primary caregivers in a rural Eastern
Cape community. Results: More than half of the sample of children had inadequate
nutritional status. The prevalence of stunting particularly was high (36.2%), while 12% were underweight and only 2.7% presented with wasting. Coexisting poor quality home‑environment (P < 0.01) added to this burden. Younger age children who lived with a younger biological caregiver were found to present more with stunting than older age children (  2 [n = 152] = 14.79, P = 0.005), but no significant differences were observed for underweight or wasting. Conclusion: It is important in a context such as South Africa, with the double burden of HIV
infection and poverty, that all efforts be directed at alleviating undernutrition. Early pediatric HIV management should not only focus on the provision of treatment but should also prioritize the quality of care of HIV‑positive children in the home to improve on their nutritional health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAfrican Journal of Medical and Health Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • nutritional status
  • pediatrics
  • resource‑poor setting
  • stunting
  • underweight
  • wasting


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