HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) infants are a growing population with potentially poor health outcomes. We evaluated morbidity and mortality in HEU formula-fed infants enrolled in the NICHD HPTN 040/PACTG 1043 trial.
Infectious morbidity, mortality and undernutrition were evaluated within a cohort of 1000 HEU infants enrolled between April 2004 and April 2010 in Brazil (n = 766) and South Africa (n = 234) as part of the NICHD/HPTN 040 trial of 3 different antiretroviral regimens to decrease intrapartum HIV vertical transmission.
Twenty-three percent of infants had at least 1 infectious serious adverse effect. Infants born to mothers with <12 years of education [adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2–5.9), with maternal viral load of >1,000,000 copies/mL at delivery (AOR, 9.9; 95% CI, 1.6–63.1) were more likely to have infectious serious adverse effects. At 6 months, the infant mortality rate per 1000 live births overall was 22 ± 2.6, 9.1 ± 1.8 in Brazil and 64.1 ± 3 in South Africa. Undernutrition and stunting peaked at 1 month of age with 18% having a weight-for-age Z score ≤−2, and 22% with height for Z score ≤−2. The likelihood of infant mortality was greater among infants born in South Africa compared with Brazil (AOR, 6.2; 95% CI, 2.5–15.8), high maternal viral load (AOR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.01–2.9) and birth weight-for-age Z score ≤−2 (AOR, 5.2; 95% CI, 1.8–14.8).
There were high rates of undernutrition, stunting and infectious serious adverse effect in this study’s formula-fed HEU population. Suppressing maternal HIV viral load during the peripartum period may be a modifiable risk factor to decrease infant mortality.