Growth of human immunodeficiency type 1-infected and uninfected children: a prospective cohort study in Kigali, Rwanda, 1988 to 1993

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1996 Jun;15(6):479-85. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199606000-00003.


Objective: To compare the anthropometric characteristics of children with and without HIV-1 infection.

Methods: In a prospective cohort study of 218 children born to HIV-1 seropositive mothers and 218 children born to HIV-1 seronegative mothers in Kigali, Rwanda, 3 groups were compared: infected children (n = 46); uninfected children born to seropositive mothers (n = 140); and uninfected children born to seronegative mothers (n = 207). Weight, height and head circumference were measured at birth, every 3 months during the first year of life and every 6 months thereafter. The weight-for-age, height-for-age, weight-for-height and head circumference-for-age mean z scores were calculated.

Results: The weight-for-age, height-for-age and head circumference-for-age mean z scores were lower among HIV-infected children than among uninfected ones at each time period. The reduction in the weight-for-age mean z score was the greatest between 12 and 36 months. The reduction in the height-for-age mean z score of HIV-infected children was persistently below 2 SD after 9 months of age. On the other hand the weight-for-height mean z score was not consistently lower in HIV-infected children when compared with uninfected ones. The anthropometric characteristics of uninfected children born to seropositive mothers were similar to those of children born to seronegative mothers.

Conclusions: In this study HIV-infected children were more frequently stunted (low height-for-age) than uninfected ones. Wasting (low weight-for-height) was not common among HIV-infected children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • HIV Antibodies / analysis
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • HIV-1*
  • Head / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / virology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rwanda


  • HIV Antibodies