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Neuropsychological and psychosocial functioning of children with perinatal HIV-infection in The Netherlands

Publication of Innovations in Care
S.E.M. Opstal,van, E.J. Dogterom, M.N. Wagener, F.K. Aarsen, H.S. Miedema, P.D.D.M. Roelofs, L.C. Knaap,van der, P.L.A. Fraaij, K. Stol, A.B. Rietman, E.C.M. Gorp,van, A.M.C. Rossum,van, E.M.W.J. Utens | Article | Publication date: 28 September 2021
Advances in antiretroviral treatment improved the life expectancy of perinatally HIV-infected children. However, growing up with HIV provides challenges in daily functioning. This cross-sectional cohort study investigated the neuropsychological and psychosocial functioning of a group of perinatally HIV-infected children in the Netherlands and compared their outcomes with Dutch normative data and outcomes of a control group of uninfected siblings. The children’s functioning was assessed with internationally well-known and standardized questionnaires, using a multi-informant approach, including the perspectives of caregivers, teachers, and school-aged children. In addition, we explored the associations of socio-demographic and medical characteristics of the HIV-infected children with their neuropsychological and psychosocial functioning. Caregivers reported compromised functioning when compared to Dutch normative data for HIV-infected children in the areas of attention, sensory processing, social-emotional functioning, and health-related quality of life. Teachers reported in addition compromised executive functioning for HIV-infected children. A comparison with siblings revealed differences in executive functioning, problems with peers, and general health. The concurrent resemblance between HIV-infected children and siblings regarding problems in other domains implies that social and contextual factors may be of influence. A family-focused approach with special attention to the child’s socio-environmental context and additional attention for siblings is recommended.

Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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