Health Problems May Increase Among Young People Infected with HIV at Birth as They Age

Published March 27, 2017

A new study has found that U.S. you infected with HIV around the time of their birth are at higher risk through their adolescence and young adulthood for experiencing serious health problems, poor control of the HIV virus, or death.

Researched from Massachusetts General Hospital combined data from two large, long-term U.S. studies to study the health of more than 1,400 perinatally HIV-infected children, adolescents, and young adults ages 7 to 30 years between 2007 and 2015. They found that young adults ages 13 to 30 were most likely to have poor HIV control and death compared to younger participants. Poor control of HIV was found 35% of the time among 18 to 30 year olds.

Along with HIV-related health problems, the most commonly reported health conditions concerned mental health and brain and nervous system development. Many women in the study also had sexually transmitted infections, possibly suggesting a biological mechanism for increased STIs or more frequent risky sexual behavior among patients who have difficulty with their medications.

Adapted from the media release by Massachusetts General Hospital, “Health Problems May Increase as Adolescents, Young Adults Infected with HIV at Birth Get Older”.

View the study in JAMA Pediatrics: “Association of Risk of Viremia, Immunosuppression, Serious Clinical Events, and Mortality With Increasing Age in Perinatally Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Youth”