Original Research

Developmental status of human immunodeficiency virus-exposed uninfected premature infants compared with premature infants who are human immunodeficiency virus unexposed and uninfected

Charne Cox, Joanne Potterton, Samantha Rosie
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 76, No 1 | a1401 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v76i1.1401 | © 2020 Charne Cox, Joanne Potterton, Samantha Rosie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 October 2019 | Published: 18 June 2020

About the author(s)

Charne Cox, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Joanne Potterton, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Samantha Rosie, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: There is growing concern about the developmental outcome of infants exposed to HIV in utero. HIV-infected women are at greater risk of premature delivery which poses a further developmental risk factor.

Objectives: To determine whether there is a difference between the development of premature infants born at 28–37 weeks gestational age that are HIV exposed but uninfected (HEU) compared with HIV-unexposed uninfected infants (HUU).

Method: A cross-sectional study was conducted in a Johannesburg state hospital. Thirty HEU and 30 HUU infants, aged between 16 days and six months, were assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III.

Results: The two groups were well matched for gestational age and birth weight; however, more HUU infants presented with neonatal complications. HUU infants had lower developmental scores than HEU infants in the language (p = 0.003) and motor (p = 0.037) subscales. Expressive language was more affected in the HUU infants (p = 0.001), and fine (p = 0.001) and gross motor (p = 0.03) were affected as well. HUU infants with neonatal complications such as meningitis (p = 0.02) and neonatal jaundice (NNJ) (p = 0.01) are more likely to present with language and motor delay.

Conclusion: Meningitis and NNJ have more impact on infant development than in-utero HIV and ARV exposure.

Clinical implications: It is important for all premature infants to be screened regularly in order to diagnose developmental delays early so as to ensure early intervention and improved quality of life.


Keywords

HIV exposed; premature; development; infants; neonatal complications; neonatal jaundice

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