Disease progression in a cohort of infants with vertically acquired HIV infection observed from birth: the Women and Infants Transmission Study (WITS)

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr Hum Retrovirol. 1998 Jul 1;18(3):221-8. doi: 10.1097/00042560-199807010-00004.


Background: The Women and Infants Transmission Study is an ongoing prospective cohort study of HIV-infected pregnant women and their infants. We used the 1994 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classification system for HIV infection in children to describe HIV disease progression in 128 HIV-infected children, and examined maternal and infant characteristics associated with disease course.

Methods: The Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate probabilities of entry into CDC clinical classes A, B, and C (mild, moderate, and severe HIV disease); CDC immunologic stages 2 and 3; and death. Relative risks of progression for selected predictor events were estimated using the Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: With a median 24 months of follow-up, the median ages at entry into clinical classes A, B and C were 5, 11, and 48 months, respectively. Increased risk of progression to class C was seen in infants who had: onset of class B events (p < .001); progression to immunologic stage 2 (p < .001) or 3 (p < .001); early culture positivity (in first 48 hours, p < .01; in first 7 days, p = .03); and early appearance (within the first 3 months of life) of lymphadenopathy, hepatomegaly, or splenomegaly (p < .001).

Conclusions: Reaching specific clinical or immunologic stages were strong predictors of progression to AIDS or death. Early onset of clinical signs (onset of lymphadenopathy, hepatomegaly, or splenomegaly < or =3 months of age), and early culture positivity (within the first 48 hours or within the first week of life), defined the infant with highest risk of disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / mortality
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors