To evaluate whether there is an increased risk of neurologic diagnoses in children who are HIV-exposed but uninfected (CHEU) exposed in utero to specific antiretroviral medications.
Prospective cohort study of CHEU enrolled from 2007 to 2017.
We evaluated children for neurologic case status, including microcephaly, febrile seizures, seizure disorders, ophthalmologic disorders, and other neurologic disorders. Adjusted relative risks (aRRs) were estimated for the association between in-utero antiretroviral exposure and neurologic case using log-binomial regression, accounting for potential confounders. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to evaluate robustness of findings.
Among 3747 eligible CHEU, 231 (6.2%) met neurologic case criteria (95% CI 5.4--7%). Most eligible children (86%) were exposed in utero to combination antiretroviral regimens. In adjusted models, children exposed to efavirenz at any time during pregnancy had higher risk of neurologic case status (aRR = 1.53, 95% CI 0.94--2.51). This association was stronger when comparing efavirenz exposure at conception to no exposure during pregnancy (aRR = 1.92, 95% CI 1.09--3.36) and considering follow-up and case diagnosis only through age 2 (aRR = 2.14, 95% CI 1.11--4.12). Children exposed to didanosine at conception and during the first trimester had increased risk of neurologic case status (aRR = 2.28, 95% CI 1.07--4.87 and aRR = 2.02, 95% CI 1.01--4.04, respectively), compared with didanosine-unexposed children. Children with dolutegravir exposure had some suggestion of increased risk of neurologic case (aRR = 2.43, 95% CI 0.75--7.84), which was observed consistently across several sensitivity analyses.
Efavirenz and didanosine exposure during pregnancy were associated with higher risk of neurologic abnormalities in CHEU, and dolutegravir exposure showed some suggestive associations, which warrant further monitoring.