To understand the association between children's anthropometric measures and maternal HIV status in Zimbabwe and to determine whether these relationships changed over time.
Data from Demographic Health Surveys in Zimbabwe rounds 2005, 2010, and 2015 were used to conduct cross-sectional analyses of child anthropometric measures (stunting, underweight, and wasting).
Using separate logistic regression models for each of the anthropometric measures, we estimated the adjusted prevalence odds ratio (OR) of stunting, underweight, and wasting in children according to maternal HIV status. Moreover, we evaluated an interaction by survey year to evaluate change over time.
Children of mothers with HIV had 32% greater odds [OR = 1.32, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.16–1.5] of stunting, 27% greater odds (OR = 1.27, 95% CI 1.1–1.48) of underweight status and 7% greater odds (OR = 1.07, 95% CI 0.81–1.42) of wasting status, than children of mothers without HIV. These associations between maternal HIV status and child undernutrition did not differ by year (P > 0.05 for all interaction terms).
In Zimbabwe, having a mother who tested positive for HIV at the time of the survey has been associated with greater child undernutrition over the last two decades with no significant change by survey round. This emphasizes the need for continued programming to address nutritional deficiencies, sanitation, and infectious disease prevention in this high-risk population. The greatest impact of maternal HIV status has been on child stunting and underweight, associated with poor long-term child development.