High Viremia and Wasting Before Antiretroviral Therapy Are Associated With Pneumonia in Early-Treated HIV-Infected Kenyan Infants

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2017 Sep 1;6(3):245-252. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piw038.


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children are particularly susceptible to acute respiratory infections (ARIs). We determined incidence and cofactors for ARIs in HIV-infected infants receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Methods: Human immunodeficiency virus-infected infants initiated ART at ≤12 months of age and were observed monthly for 2 years in Nairobi. Acute respiratory infection rates and cofactors were determined using Andersen-Gill models, allowing for multiple events per infant.

Results: Among 111 HIV-infected infants, median age at ART initiation was 4.5 months. Pre-ART median CD4% was 19%, and 29% had wasting. During 24-months follow-up while on ART, upper respiratory infection (URI) and pneumonia rates were 122.6 and 34.7 per 100 person-years (py), respectively. Infants with higher pre-ART viral load (VL) (plasma HIV ribonucleic acid [RNA] ≥7 log10 copies/mL) had 4.12-fold increased risk of pneumonia (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.17-7.80), and infants with wasting (weight-for-height z-score < -2) had 2.87-fold increased risk (95% CI, 1.56-5.28). Infants with both high pre-ART VL and wasting had a higher pneumonia rate (166.8 per 100 py) than those with only 1 of these risk factors (44.4 per 100 py) or neither (17.0 per 100 py). Infants with exposure to wood fuel had significantly higher risk of URI (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.82; 95% CI, 1.44-2.28) and pneumonia (HR = 3.31; 95% CI, 1.76-6.21).

Conclusions: In early ART-treated HIV-infected infants, higher HIV RNA and wasting before ART were independent risk factors for pneumonia. Wood fuel use was associated with URI and pneumonia. Additional data on air pollution and respiratory outcomes in HIV-infected children may help optimize interventions to improve their lung health.

Keywords: HIV; acute respiratory infections; home air pollution; infants; pneumonia.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Viremia / epidemiology*
  • Viremia / etiology


  • Anti-HIV Agents