Background: Anemia and poor nutrition have been previously described as independent risk factors for death among HIV-infected children. We sought to describe nutritional status, anemia burden and HIV disease correlates among infected children in India. Methods: We analyzed retrospective data from 248 HIV-infected children aged 1-12 years attending three outpatient clinics in South India (2004-2006). Standard WHO definitions were used for anemia, HIV staging and growth parameters. Statistical analysis included chi square, t tests, univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses. Results: The overall prevalence of anemia (defined as hemoglobin < 11 gm/dL) was 66%, and 8% had severe anemia (Hb < 7 gm/dL). The proportion of underweight and stunted children in the population was 55% and 46% respectively. Independent risk factors of anemia by multivariate analysis included the pre-school age group (age younger than 6 years) (OR: 2.87; 95% CI: 1.45, 5.70; p < 0.01), rural residence (OR: 12.04; 95% CI: 5.64, 26.00; p < 0.01), advanced HIV disease stage (OR: 6.95; 95% CI: 3.06, 15.79; p < 0.01) and presence of stunting (Height-for-age Z Score < -2) (OR: 3.24; 95% CI: 1.65, 6.35; p < 0.01). Use of iron/multivitamin supplementation was protective against risk of anemia (OR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.22, 0.90; p = 0.03). Pulmonary tuberculosis was an independent risk factor in multivariate analysis (OR: 3.36; 95% CI: 1.43, 7.89; p < 0.01) when correlated variables such as HIV disease stage and severe immunodeficiency, and nutritional supplement use were not included. Use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) was associated with a reduced risk of anemia (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.16, 0.53; p < 0.01). No significant association was found between anemia and gender, cotrimoxazole, or ART type (zidovudine versus stavudine). Conclusion: The high prevalence and strong interrelationship of anemia and poor nutrition among HIV-infected children in India, particularly those living in rural areas underscores the need for incorporating targeted nutritional interventions during national scale up of care, support and treatment among HIV-infected children.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health