Multisystem impairment in South African adolescents with Perinatally acquired HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
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INTRODUCTION: Adolescents with perinatally acquired HIV (PHIV) are at risk of chronic disease due to long-standing immune suppression, HIV disease and antiretroviral therapy (ART) exposure. However, there are few data on multisystem disease in this population. We investigated the overlapping burden of neurocognitive, cardiovascular, respiratory and/or renal impairment among PHIV positive (PHIV+) adolescents. METHODS: In this cross-sectional analysis, participants aged 9 to 14 years on ART for >6 months were recruited from seven sites across Cape Town from July 2013 through March 2015, together with age-matched HIV-negative (HIV-) adolescents. Impairment at enrolment was assessed across neurocognitive functioning (using the youth-International HIV Dementia Scale); cardiac function (echocardiogram abnormality); respiratory function (abnormal spirometry) and renal function (abnormal glomerular filtration rate). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Overall, 384 PHIV+ and 95 HIV- adolescents were included (mean age, 11.9 years; 49% female). Median age of ART initiation was 4.2 years (IQR: 1.7 to 7.6) and median CD4 count was 709 (IQR: 556 to 944) with 302 (79%) of PHIV+ adolescents virologically suppressed. Abacavir and Zidovudine were the most commonly used nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) with 60% of adolescents on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTI) and 38% on a protease inhibitor (PI). Among PHIV+ adolescents, 167 (43.5%) had single system impairment only, 110 (28.6%) had two systems involved, and 39 (10.2%) had three or four systems involved. PHIV+ participants had more 2-system and 3-system impairment than HIV-, 110 (28.6%) versus 17 (17.9%), p = 0.03 and 39 (10.2%) versus 3 (4.3%), p = 0.03. PHIV+ participants who had failed a year of school (73.8% vs. 46.4%, p = 0.00) and with a viral load >1000 copies/mL at enrolment (16.8% vs. 8.1%, p = 0.03) were more likely to have dual or multisystem impairment. Of those with cardiac impairment, 86.7% had an additional system impaired. Similarly, in those with neurocognitive impairment, almost 60% had additional systems impaired and of those with respiratory impairment, 74% had additional systems impaired. CONCLUSIONS: Despite relatively early ART initiation, there is a substantial burden of multisystem chronic impairment among PHIV+ adolescents. This phenomenon needs to be further explored as this population ages and begins to engage in adult lifestyle factors that may compound these impairments.
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