An estimated 35% of pregnant women within the Africa Centre for Population Health area test HIV positive. This proportion will increase as more infected women survive with ART, and become pregnant. These children will be exposed to even higher rates of already prevalent infections altered care practices, such as washing babies after birth and changes in infant feeding patterns, and reduced financial and nutritional resources. Social and psychological factors which impact child development include disrupted family life, unstable partnerships, economic insecurity and poor maternal mental state (including depression associated with HIV infection), all of which can increase the risk of these children themselves becoming infected with HIV during early adulthood. Therefore all exposed children, HIV infected and uninfected, are likely to suffer long-term from the biological, social and psychological impact of the HIV epidemic.

What we’ll do

We will utilise a life course approach to determine the short and long term consequences of exposure to this environment. We build on the prior strength of the Africa Centre in mother to child HIV transmission. We will establish a Centre of Adolescent Health Research embedded within the Africa Centre for Population Health. (See more on HAYA here)

Our key research questions:

  1. What are the short and long term developmental and health consequences for children born to HIV infected mothers?
  2. What are the determinants of early child development?
  3. How can we reduce morbidity and mortality in HIV infected children and adolescents