Birth Prevalence of Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection in HIV-Exposed Uninfected Children in the Era of Combination Antiretroviral Therapy

J Pediatr. 2020 Jan;216:82-87.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.09.025. Epub 2019 Oct 23.


Objectives: To estimate birth prevalence of congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) in HIV-exposed uninfected children born in the current era of combination antiretroviral therapy and describe cCMV-related neurodevelopmental and hearing outcomes.

Study design: The Surveillance Monitoring for ART Toxicities cohort study follows HIV-exposed uninfected children at 22 sites in the US and Puerto Rico. Birth cCMV prevalence was estimated in a subset of participants who had blood pellets collected within three weeks of birth and underwent ≥1 of 6 assessments evaluating cognitive and language development including an audiologic examination between 1 and 5 years of age. Detection of CMV DNA by polymerase chain reaction testing of peripheral blood mononuclear cells was used to diagnose cCMV. Proportions of suboptimal assessment scores were compared by cCMV status using Fisher exact test.

Results: Mothers of 895 eligible HIV-exposed uninfected children delivered between 2007 and 2015. Most (90%) were on combination antiretroviral therapy, 88% had an HIV viral load of ≤400 copies/mL, and 93% had CD4 cell counts of ≥200 cells/μL. Eight infants were diagnosed with cCMV, yielding an estimated prevalence of 0.89% (95% CI, 0.39%-1.75%). After adjusting for a sensitivity of 70%-75% for the testing method, projected prevalence was 1.2%-1.3%. No differences were observed in cognitive, language and hearing assessments by cCMV status.

Conclusions: Although birth cCMV prevalence in HIV-exposed uninfected children born to women with well-controlled HIV is trending down compared with earlier combination antiretroviral therapy-era estimates, it is above the 0.4% reported for the general US population. HIV-exposed uninfected children remain at increased risk for cCMV.

Keywords: HIV-exposed uninfected; cART; cCMV; congenital; cytomegalovirus; prevalence; women living with HIV.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytomegalovirus / isolation & purification
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / blood
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / congenital
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Seronegativity / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Puerto Rico / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents