Background: More than 2/3 of all people living with HIV live in the sub-Saharan countries. The majority of these people are women and there is an estimate of 12.2 million women of childbearing age being infected with HIV. The objective of our study was to investigate if maternal HIV could have an impact on growth during the first year of life in children born to HIV-positive versus HIV-negative mothers in Moshi, Tanzania.
Method: Data on weight, length and head circumference were collected retrospectively in addition to several socio-demographic variables at two primary health care centers in Moshi. We went through 1641 files of pregnant women attending for routine antenatal care and out of these 1477 women met our criteria of inclusion.
Results: Groups of girls and boys of various numbers had their weight, body length and head circumference registered at 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after birth. Of these were most born to HIV-negative mothers and some to HIV-positive mothers.
132, 33 and 35 girls had their weight, length and head circumference registered at all time points, respectively. The difference in mean weight, length and head circumference varied at different time points and the differences were of no statistical significance (p>0.05).
169, 50 and 52 boys had their weight, length and head circumference measured at all time points, respectively. As for the girls, the differences in means varied at different time points and the differences were of no statistical significance (p>0.05).
Of the socio-demographic factors included in our study, there were only minor differences between the HIV-positive and HIV-negative mothers.
Conclusion: We found no significant statistical difference between the children of the HIV- positive and HIV-negative mothers. There is reason to question this result due to lack of standardized routines, poor attendance and a small material. Difficulties are encountered when conducting studies in developing countries which remain a challenge in the future and especially important is the education of health workers and the implementation of standardized routines.