HIV exposed vs unexposed babies have lower gestational age and birth weight in Danish study

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Polly Clayden, HIV i-Base

HIV exposed, uninfected children were more likely to have a lower gestational age and birth weight, and were more likely to be delivered by Caesarean section compared to unexposed controls, according to a Danish nationwide study.

Ellen Larsen presented preliminary results on birth related characteristics from a study conducted to evaluate rates, diagnoses, lengths of hospital admission and use of antibiotics among HIV exposed, uninfected children aged 0 to 4 years of age, compared to a matched control group of children not exposed to HIV. These data were shown at the 4th International Workshop on HIV & Women, 2014.

For this analysis the investigators collected information on all births in Denmark from 1 January 2000 to 31 December 2010 from the national registries at Statistics Denmark. They found a total of 712.428 children were born during the time period and 268 children were born to HIV positive mothers.

HIV positive mothers were less likely than HIV negative ones to be married 80% vs 93% and slightly older, mean 32 years, (95% CI 31.4 to 32.7) vs. 31 years, (95% CI 30.7 to30.8). Both comparisons p<0.001. The HIV exposed infants had a shorter mean gestational age, 267 days (95% CI 264 to 269) vs 278 days (95% CI 277 to 278); were more likely to be delivered by Caesarean section, 64% vs. 21%; and had a lower mean birth weight, 3035g (95% CI 2951 to 3121) vs 3478g (95% CI 3477-3480). All comparisons p<0.001.

Smoking habits during pregnancy, completed pregnancies, multiple births, and Apgar score at 10 minutes were similar in both cohorts.

The study will intends to further investigate whether due to these factors there is an increased morbidity in HIV exposed uninfected children. The investigators noted that there might be a need for a closer follow-up of these children.


Larsen EM et al. Morbidity among HIV exposed uninfected children compared to children not exposed to HIV – a Danish nationwide study. 4th International Workshop on HIV & Women, Washington DC. 13-14 January 2014. Oral abstract_22.

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