Investigating Mediators of the Poor Pneumonia Outcomes of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Exposed but Uninfected Children.
Year of Publication
2017 Nov 20
<p><strong>Background: </strong>Human immunodeficiency virus-exposed but uninfected (HIV-EU) children have a higher mortality rate than the children of HIV-negative mothers (HIV-unexposed). Causal mediators of the poor health outcomes of HIV-EU children remain poorly defined.</p>
<p><strong>Methods: </strong>We conducted a hospital-based prospective cohort study of children aged 1 to 23 months with clinically defined pneumonia. The children were recruited at a referral hospital in Gaborone, Botswana, between April 2012 and June 2016. The primary outcome, treatment failure at 48 hours, was assessed by an investigator blinded to the children's HIV-exposure status. We examined associations between HIV exposure and pneumonia outcomes in HIV-uninfected children. We next determined whether the effect of HIV exposure on outcomes was mediated by low-birth-weight status, nonbreastfeeding, malnutrition, in utero exposure to combination antiretroviral therapy, or pneumonia severity.</p>
<p><strong>Results: </strong>A total of 352 HIV-uninfected children were included in these analyses, including 245 (70%) HIV-unexposed and 107 (30%) HIV-EU children. Their median age was 7.4 months, and 57% were male. Treatment failure occurred in 111 (32%) children, and 19 (5.4%) children died. HIV-EU children were more likely to fail treatment (risk ratio [RR], 1.57 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.19-2.07]; P = .002) and had a higher in-hospital mortality rate (RR, 4.50 [95% CI, 1.86-10.85]; P = .001) than HIV-unexposed children. Nonbreastfeeding mediated 47% of the effect of HIV exposure on the risk of in-hospital death.</p>
<p><strong>Conclusions: </strong>HIV-EU children have worse pneumonia outcomes than HIV-unexposed children. Nonbreastfeeding mediates nearly half of the effect of HIV exposure on pneumonia mortality. Our findings provide additional evidence for a mortality benefit of breastfeeding by HIV-EU children.</p>
J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc