Impact on weight and height with the use of HAART in HIV-infected children

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007 Apr;26(4):334-8. doi: 10.1097/01.inf.0000257427.19764.ff.


Background: There are few data on long-term effects of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) on weight and height in HIV-infected children.

Objectives: Our objective was to assess the effect of HAART on the weight and height of HIV-infected children over time in the Madrid cohort, and analyze possible factors associated with the effect.

Patients and methods: This was a retrospective study of HIV-infected children starting HAART in 1997 or later. Serial measurements of weight, height and body mass index (BMI) were performed and converted to z-scores using the Spanish revised reference data. Changes from baseline in weight, height and BMI at 12, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months were determined. Associations of z-scores at the last visit with immunologic (CD4% above 25%) and virologic responses (more than 50% of samples below 400 copies/mL), CDC (Centers for Disease Control) clinical category, and the presence and type of lipodystrophy (lipoatrophy or lipohypertrophy) were evaluated.

Results: Twelve hundred and twelve children, 97% of them vertically-infected, received HAART starting in 1997 for a median of 71 months (4-102 months). Median age at initiation of HAART was 6 years (1 month-18 years). Thirty-nine percentage were antiretroviral naive and 61% had received NRTI therapy previously. Thirty-two percentage and 53% had CDC class C and immunologic class 3, respectively. At the final evaluation, 24% of children remained on their first combination therapy, 39% on the second and 37% had received at least 3 different HAART regimens. Fifty-one percentage were classified as virologic responders. Thirty-nine percentage of children in this study were diagnosed with lipodystrophy. At baseline, median z-score for weight, height and BMI were -0.45, -0.60 and -0.33, respectively. HAART was associated with significant increases in z-scores of weight and height but not BMI at the different time-points analyzed. Virologic nonresponders had significantly lower z-scores for weight and height but not for BMI. CDC class C was associated with lower z-scores for height. No differences in final measurements were observed for baseline CD4, immunologic response or lipoatrophy. Children with lipohypertophy had a significantly higher BMI at the last visit.

Conclusions: HIV-infected children experienced a continued catch-up in weight and height 5 years after starting HAART. Virologic control is related to sustained growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-HIV Agents