Cohort profile: longitudinal and population comparison of children who are HIV-exposed uninfected and children who are HIV unexposed in Kenya (HOPE study)

Irene N. Njuguna, Maureen King'e, Helen Moraa, Manasi Kumar, Sarah Benki-Nugent, Anjuli Dawn Wagner, Christine J. McGrath, Shannon Dorsey, Serah Ndegwa, Alvin Onyango, Dalton Wamalwa, Grace John-Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: Globally, the number of children/adolescents exposed to HIV but uninfected (HIV-exposed uninfected, HEU) is growing. The HEU outcomes: population-evaluation and screening strategies study was designed to provide population-level evidence of the impact of HIV and recent antiretroviral therapy regimen exposure on neurodevelopmental, hearing and mental health outcomes from infancy to adolescence. PARTICIPANTS: The study includes a prospective mother-infant cohort and cross-sectional child/youth-caregiver cohorts conducted in Kenya.Between 2021 and 2022, the study enrolled 2000 mother-infant pairs (1000 HEU and 1000 HIV-unexposed uninfected (HUU)) for longitudinal follow-up. Infants were eligible if they were aged 4-10 weeks and healthy. Mothers were eligible if their HIV status was known and were ≥18 years. Study visits are 6 monthly until the child reaches age 3 years.Cross-sectional cohorts spanning ages 3-18 years started enrolment in 2022. Target enrolment is 4400 children/youth (4000 HEU and 400 HUU). Children and youth are eligible if they are HIV negative, maternal HIV status and timing of diagnosis is known, and caregivers are ≥18 years.Data on infant/child/youth growth, neurodevelopment, mental health, morbidity and hearing are collected at enrolment using standardised tools. Dry blood spots samples are collected for telomere length assessment at baseline and yearly for the longitudinal cohort. Growth z-scores, neurodevelopmental scores, telomere length and prevalence of developmental and hearing problems will be compared between HEU/HUU populations. FINDINGS TO DATE: Full cohort enrolment for the longitudinal cohort is complete and participants are in follow-up. At 1 year of age, comparing HEU to HUU neurodevelopment using the Malawi developmental assessment tool, we found that HEU infants had higher language scores and comparable scores in fine motor, gross motor and social scores. The cross-sectional cohort has enrolled over 2000 participants and recruitment is ongoing. FUTURE PLANS: Longitudinal cohort follow-up and enrolment to the cross-sectional study will be completed in June 2024.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e081975
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Epidemiology
  • HIV & AIDS
  • Paediatric infectious disease & immunisation


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