Human Immunodeficiency Virus Disease Severity, Psychiatric Symptoms, and Functional Outcomes in Perinatally Infected Youth

JAMA Pediatrics, 02/24/2012

Nachman S et al. – Human immunodeficiency virus illness severity markers are associated with the severity of some psychiatric symptoms and, notably, with cognitive, academic, and social functioning, all of which warrant additional study.


  • Cross-sectional analysis of entry data from an observational, prospective 2-year study.
  • Logistic and linear regression models adjusted for potential confounders were used.
  • Twenty-nine sites of the International Maternal Pediatrics Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials Group study in the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • Youth aged 6 to 17 years who had HIV infection (N = 319).


  • Characteristics of HIV were a current CD4 percentage of 25% or greater (74% of participants), HIV RNA levels of less than 400 copies/mL (59%), and current highly active antiretroviral therapy (81%).
  • Analyses indicated associations of past and current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention class C designation with less severe attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder inattention symptoms, older age at nadir CD4 percentage and lower CD4 percentage at study entry with more severe conduct disorder symptoms, higher RNA viral load at study entry with more severe depression symptoms, and lower CD4 percentage at study entry with less severe symptoms of depression.
  • There was little evidence of an association between specific antiretroviral therapy and severity of psychiatric symptoms.
  • A lower nadir CD4 percentage was associated with lower quality of life, worse Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Coding Recall scores, and worse social functioning.

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