Zinc status in HIV infected Ugandan children aged 1-5 years: a cross sectional baseline survey
TypePeer reviewed; Journal article
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Background Low concentrations of serum zinc have been reported in HIV infected adults and are associated with disease progression and an increased risk of death. Few studies have been conducted in HIV infected children in Africa. We determined serum zinc levels and factors associated with zinc deficiency in HIV infected Ugandan children. Methods We measured the baseline zinc status of 247 children aged 1-5 years enrolled in a randomised trial for multiple micronutrient supplementation at paediatric HIV clinics in Uganda (http://ClinicalTrials.gov webcite NCT00122941). Zinc status was determined using inductively coupled atomic emission spectrophotometry (ICP-AES). Clinical and laboratory characteristics were compared among zinc deficient (zinc < 10.0 μmol/L) and non deficient children. Logistic regression was used to determine predictors of low serum zinc. Results Of the 247 children, 134 (54.3%) had low serum zinc (< 10.0 μmol/L). Of the 44 children on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), 13 (29.5%) had low zinc compared to 121/203 (59.6%) who were not on HAART. Overall, independent predictors of low zinc were fever (OR 2.2; 95%CI 1.1 - 4.6) and not taking HAART (OR 3.7; 95%CI 1.8 - 7.6). Conclusion Almost two thirds of HAART naïve and a third of HAART treated HIV infected children were zinc deficient. Increased access to HAART among HIV infected children living in Uganda might reduce the prevalence of zinc deficiency.