Posted by Neill Abayon
For children who have been HIV-infected since birth, current anti-HIV drug regimens may protect against the delays in puberty that had been seen in HIV-infected children taking older regimens, according to researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health.
HIV appears to delay puberty. Among children born before 1990, more than 10 percent of HIV-positive girls and boys had not entered puberty by 12 and 13 years of age, respectively. However, a study published in the journal AIDS has found that puberty was delayed for less than 1 percent of children born since 1997, when more effective anti-HIV drug therapies became widely available. Combination antiretroviral treatments — three or more drugs from two or more different anti-HIV drug classes — are now the standard therapy.
Presumably, improved health resulting from the more effective therapy allows the children to enter puberty on a more age appropriate timetable, said study author Rohan Hazra, M.D., of the Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Based on information collected over 12 years from more than 2,000 HIV-infected boys and girls, the researchers found that for each year of combination antiretroviral treatment a child received, puberty started about a month earlier when compared to children with HIV who took other drug therapies or no drugs at all.