Objectives: To determine the rate of in utero transmission of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in perinatally HIV-exposed infants and to determine whether coinfection with CMV in early life affects outcome.
Methods: Infants born to HIV-infected women between March, 1988, and March, 1995, were evaluated (n = 206). Congenital or in utero CMV infection was defined as a positive CMV culture or shell vial assay on urine obtained in the first 3 weeks of life. HIV-infected infants either had positive serology beyond 18 months of age or, for an infant younger than 18 months, had a positive HIV PCR or HIV culture on at least two separate occasions.
Results: There were 30 HIV-infected and 171 uninfected infants (144 who seroreverted and 27 infants with at least 2 negative HIV PCR or culture results and normal immunologic studies during the first 6 months of age). Urine culture for CMV was obtained during the first 3 weeks of life on 154 infants: 24 of 30 (80%) HIV-infected infants; and 130 of 171 (76%) HIV-uninfected infants. Overall 10 of 154 (6.5%) infants were infected with CMV: 5 of 24 (21%) HIV-infected and 5 of 130 (3.8%) HIV-uninfected infants. The rate of in utero CMV infection was significantly higher in HIV-infected infants (P = 0.008). Dually infected infants were more immunosuppressed than their CMV-negative counterparts. At 3 months of age the percentage of CD4+ T lymphocytes (P = 0.0021) and CD4:CD8 ratios (P = 0.0018) were significantly lower in the CMV-infected infants than in the CMV-uninfected infants. At 6 months of age the absolute CD4+ T lymphocyte counts (P = 0.0038), percentage of CD4+ T lymphocytes (P = 0.044) and CD4:CD8 ratios (P = 0.037) were significantly lower in the CMV-infected infants. The mean survival of HIV-infected infants who were coinfected with CMV in early life (5 in utero and 1 perinatally infected infant identified at 7 weeks) was 24.77 months. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis indicated a trend toward decreased survival in the infants who were coinfected with CMV in early life (P = 0.088).
Conclusions: Congenital CMV infection is more common in HIV-infected infants than in HIV-uninfected infants. Infection with CMV in early life is associated with greater immunosuppression and may be associated with a more rapid progression of HIV infection in infants.