Neruodevelopmental outcomes in pre-school children living with HIV-1 subtypes A and D in Uganda

Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Background: HIV is a neuropathogenic virus that may result in detrimental neurodevelopmental (ND) outcomes early in life. This is the first study to evaluate the effect of HIV-1 subtype on neurodevelopment of Ugandan preschool children.

Methods: Neurodevelopment of 87 HIV-1 infected and 221 HIV exposed uninfected Ugandan children 1.8–4.9 years of age was assessed using 4 scales of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL), 2 scales of the Color Object Association Test (COAT), and 1 score of the Early Childhood Vigilance Test. HIV-1 subtype was defined by phylogenetic analyses. General linear models were used to relate test scores to HIV-1 subtype (A versus D) while adjusting for relevant covariates. The scores were benchmarked against HIV exposed uninfected group to facilitate the interpretation.

Results: Seventy-one percentage of children infected with subtype A versus 60% of children with subtype D were currently on antiretroviral therapy (P = 0.49). Children with HIV-1 subtype A infection were older when compared with subtype D (3.29 vs. 2.76 years, respectively, P = 0.03), but similar regarding sex, socioeconomic status, weight-for-age z-score, CD4+ and CD8+ (% and total), viral load. No statistically significant differences by HIV-1 subtype were observed in the MSEL, COAT and Early Childhood Vigilance Test. Differences ≥ 0.33 of the SD were observed for the MSEL Composite Score, Receptive Language (MSEL) and Total Memory (COAT).

Conclusions: In contrast to previously reported differences in ND outcomes of school-age children by HIV-1 subtype, ND scores among preschool children were similar for subtypes A and D, with few potential differences on language production and memory outcomes that favored subtype A. Further investigation with larger sample sizes and longitudinal follow-up is needed


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

The pediatric infectious diseases journal


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.