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Reassuring News for HIV Exposed and Uninfected Infants When It Comes to Their Neurodevelopment :

September 18, 2017

When an infant is exposed to HIV in utero, one cannot help but be concerned about the effect on the developing brain even if once born, the infant appears uninfected based on the conventional serologic studies.

When an infant is exposed to HIV in utero, one cannot help but be concerned about the effect on the developing brain even if once born, the infant appears uninfected based on the conventional serologic studies. To determine if these concerns are justified, Chaudhury et al. (10.1542/peds.2017-0988) enrolled HIV infected and uninfected mothers in Botswana in a prospective observational study and looked at neurodevelopment in their infants at 24 months of age.  313 infants were HIV exposed but uninfected (HEU) after receiving antiretroviral treatment and 386 were in the control group (HIV unexposed and uninfected (HUU)).  The good news is that at 2 years of age, there were no differences in the development tests administered (i.e. the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development and the Development Milestones Checklist between HEU and HUU toddlers).  This is yet another reason to celebrate the use of antiretroviral agents immediately at birth for HIV exposed infants not just in Botswana but hopefully anywhere this virus is prevalent. While this study only represents a cohort of infants in Botswana, the hope it is will trigger other studies around the world that will reaffirm the optimistic outcomes shared in this important article. 

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