Vitamin D status and associated factors among HIV-infected children and adolescents on antiretroviral therapy in Kampala, Uganda

Thereza Were Piloya, Sabrina Bakeera–Kitaka, Grace Paul Kisitu, Richard Idro, Sarah E. Cusick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: A high prevalence of suboptimal serum vitamin D has been reported among HIV infected children even in countries with high sunshine abundance throughout the year. Vitamin D is a potent immune modulator of innate and adaptive immune responses. Vitamin D regulates immune responses through the vitamin D receptor on CD4 cells. We aimed to determine the vitamin D status of HIV infected children and factors associated with suboptimal vitamin D.

METHODS: This was a cross sectional study. We enrolled children aged between 6 months and 12 years attending an outpatient paediatric HIV clinic. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured using the electrochemoluminisence method. Suboptimal vitamin D was defined as 25(OH)D <30 ng/ml, vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency were 21-29 ng/ml and <20 ng/ml respectively. Anthropometry, physical exam and medical history were documented. Logistic regression was performed.

RESULTS: We enrolled 376 children with mean age (sd) 8.05 years (3.03), a median (IQR) duration of ART of 5.9 years (3.2-8.4). Majority of the children (64%) had been exposed to non nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). A third were severely immunosuppressed (CD4% ≤15%) at ART initiation. At the time of the study, the majority (89%) were virologically suppressed (VL <1000 copies/ml). Prevalence of 25(OH)D <30 ng/ml was 49 (13%) of 375 participants and 11 (3%) had 25(OH)D <20 ng/ml. Lopinavir/ritonavir regimen was independently associated with 25(OH)D <30 ng/ml; OR 0.27 CI (0.13-0.57), p value-0.002. Serum 25(OH)D <20 ng/ml was associated with CD4 count ≤15% at ART initiation OR 6.55(1.30-32.9), p value-0.023 and use of NNRTIs; OR 10.9(1.22-96.2), p value-0.03.

CONCLUSION: We found a low prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D compared to earlier reports. Severe immunosuppression at ART initiation and use of NNRTIs increases odds of deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation should be considered in severely immunosuppressed children initiating ART.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0253689
JournalPloS one
Issue number6 June
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Piloya et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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