Modelling the impact of maternal HIV on uninfected children: correcting current estimates

Chris Desmond, Phillip Labuschagne, Lucie Cluver, Mark Tomlinson, Linda Richter, Xanthe Hunt, Marguerite Marlow, Alex Welte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A mathematical model, populated primarily with data from South Africa, was developed to model the numbers of children affected by maternal HIV, and the number who will experience long-term negative developmental consequences. A micro-simulation model generated two scenarios. The first simulated a cohort of women whose HIV status mimicked that of a target population, and mother–child dyads by way of age- and disease-specific fertility rates. Factors defining risk were used to characterize the simulated environment. The second scenario simulated mother-child dyads without maternal HIV. In the first scenario an estimated 26% of children are orphaned, compared to 10% in the absence of HIV. And a further 19% of children whose mother is alive when they turn 18 are affected by maternal HIV. School drop-out among all children increased by 4 percentage points because of maternal HIV, similarly population level estimates of abuse and negative mental health outcomes are elevated. Relative to HIV unaffected children, HIV affected have elevated risk of poor outcomes, however not all will suffer long-term negative consequences. Interventions to protect children should target the proportion of children at risk, while interventions to mitigate harm should target the smaller proportion of children who experience long-term negative outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1406-1414
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS Care
Issue number11
Early online date12 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2020


  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology


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