Original Research

Prevalence of developmental delay in infants who are HIV positive

J. L. Potterton, C. J. Eales
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 57, No 3 | a507 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v57i3.507 | © 2018 J. L. Potterton, C. J. Eales | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2018 | Published: 30 August 2001

About the author(s)

J. L. Potterton, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
C. J. Eales, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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The presence of developmental delay in children who are HIV positive has been well described.  International studies have identified 25 - 40% of HIV infected infants to have developmental delay. This study aimed to establish the prevalence of developmental delay in HIV positive infants in South Africa.
The study was conducted at Coronation Hospital, Gauteng, South Africa.  Infants under 12 months of age attending an out-patient follow-up clinic were assessed for developmental delay using the Neurodevelopment Assessment Score. Informed written consent was obtained from the caregivers prior to assessment. The results from 30 HIV positive and 30 HIV negative infants were analysed. Descriptive analyses were used to analyse most of the data. Data were summarised using means for continuous variables and frequencies and proportions for categorical variables.
The two groups were well matched for age, weight and socio-economic status. Forty percent of the HIV positive sample presented with developmental delay compared to 13% of the HIV negative sample. The caregivers of the HIV infected children expressed a need for support groups and education on HIV and how to care for their infants. The results of this study support the findings of international studies on developmental delay in HIV infected infants.
Furthermore, this study identifies the need for cost effective, innovative programmes to address the long term needs of HIV infected infants and their caregivers.


neurodevelopmental delay; HIV positive; infants.


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