This study investigates the possible effects of in-utero antiretroviral therapy (ART) exposure on early language development in HIV exposed uninfected infants. 27 mother-infant pairs consented to the study. Early language development was assessed using the Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the caregiver and infant characteristics, as well as the language and communication abilities of infants exposed to in-utero ART. T-test statistics compared the early linguistic development of infants conceived while taking efavirenz and infants that were conceived on a nevirapine or protease-inhibitor (PI lopinavir/ritonavir) containing regimen. Similarly, t-tests or ANOVA statistics assessed maternal and infant characteristics associated with total language development. Results obtained in the study revealed no significant differences between the overall language abilities of infants exposed to regimen containing nevirapine or a PI versus regimen that contained efavirenz. The comparison of mean total Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language scores by infant age and maternal and infant characteristics revealed no significant association between variables except for hospitalization. Results obtained suggest that overall language development may not be significantly affected by in utero ART exposure however, further research is warranted to assess whether these infants are at an increased risk of late language emergence.
Key words: HIV, in-utero antiretroviral therapy exposure, early language development, Rossetti Infant Toddler Language Scale, HIV, HIV exposed uninfected children.
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