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Growth Failure in Children With HIV Infection After Maternal Death

Houston, Patricia E. MS; Reed, Caroline K. RN, FNP; Rana, Sohail R. MD

Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice: March 2011 - Volume 19 - Issue 2 - p 85-87
doi: 10.1097/IPC.0b013e3182002f72
Review Articles

Growth failure is common in children with HIV infection. The effect of maternal death on growth in HIV has not been studied. We reviewed and examined height and weight z scores data over a 10-year period for children with HIV infection in our clinic who experienced maternal death. Two HIV-infected children developed growth failure for both height and weight after the death of their mothers. In case 1, the growth rates improved after 3 years; however, case 2 is starting to show signs of recovery only at 6 years after the mother's death. Both children had low HIV viral loads and normal CD4 counts at the time of growth failure, and no other alternative cause was identified. Maternal death is one of the biggest stressors in the life of a child and most HIV-infected children are at a high risk of losing their mothers. The impact of various stressors such as maternal death on growth needs to be studied in children with HIV infection in a larger cohort.

From the Department of Pediatrics, Howard University, Washington, DC.

Correspondence to: Patricia E. Houston, MS, Department of Pediatrics, Howard University Hospital, 2041 Georgia Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20060. E-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.