The prevalence and determinants of short stature in HIV-infected children

J Int Assoc Provid AIDS Care. 2014 Nov-Dec;13(6):529-33. doi: 10.1177/2325957414531621. Epub 2014 Apr 21.


Background: Children with HIV infection are often reported to be short. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of HIV-associated short stature in HIV endemic setting.

Methods: Data were obtained by retrospective review of the electronic medical records. Patients were grouped into various clinical categories. For each category, the proportion of patients with height-for-age Z score of less than -2 standard deviation [SD] and of less than -3 SD was determined.

Results: The prevalence of short stature (less than -2 SD) was 28.4%. Severe short stature (less than -3 SD) is more likely with percentage of CD4 <15% (odds ratio [OR]: 3.30, confidence interval [CI]: 1.51-7.09, P = .002) and with males (OR: 1.49, CI: 1.19-1.87, P = .001). Severe short stature is more likely with viral load >400 copies/mL (OR 2.64, CI 1.27-5.38, P = .008) and poor adherence (<95%; OR 1.72, CI 1.03-2.05, P = .037).

Conclusion: In Botswana, short stature affects a quarter of HIV-infected children and severe short stature is associated with poor adherence to antiretroviral treatment, severe immunosuppression, and virologic failure.

Keywords: CD4; HIV infection; short stature; viral load; virologic failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Body Height*
  • Botswana
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Viral Load


  • Anti-HIV Agents