BACKGROUND: Older children and adolescents with perinatally acquired human immunodeficiency virus (PHIV) infection in Africa experience multiple comorbidities that are not typical of HIV-associated opportunistic infections, including growth impairment and chronic lung disease. We examined associations between plasma cytomegalovirus (CMV) DNA and lung function and growth. METHODS: Plasma CMV DNA loads were measured children aged 6-16 years with PHIV (n = 402) and HIV-uninfected controls (n = 224). The HIV-infected children were either newly diagnosed or known HIV infected and stable on antiretroviral therapy (ART) for >6 months. CMV DNA loads were measured using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. CMV DNAemia was modeled as a time-varying outcome using longitudinal mixed-effects logistic regression. RESULTS: At enrollment, CMV DNAemia ≥1000 copies/mL (defined as "clinically significant") was detected in 5.8% of uninfected children, 14.7% of HIV-infected participants stable on ART, and 22.6% of HIV-infected ART-naive children (χ2 = 23.8, P < .001). The prevalence of CMV DNAemia ≥1000 copies/mL was associated with CD4 counts <350 cells/µL. Among HIV-infected ART-naive children, the presence of CMV DNAemia of ≥1000 copies/mL was independently associated with reduced lung function (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 3.23; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.23-8.46; P = .017). Among ART-treated children, stunting was associated with CMV DNAemia of ≥1000 copies/mL (aOR = 2.79; 95% CI, 0.97-8.02; P = .057). CONCLUSIONS: Clinically significant levels of CMV DNAemia were common in older children with PHIV, even those on ART, suggesting a role for inadequately controlled CMV infection in the pathogenesis of PHIV comorbidities in Africa.
Clin Infect Dis
CMV, HIV, adolescent, chronic lung disease, stunting