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OBJECTIVE:HIV disrupts host defense mechanisms and maintains chronic inflammation in the lung. Nitric oxide is a marker of lung inflammation and can be measured in the exhaled air. We investigated the relationship between exhaled nitric oxide (eNO), HIV status and airway abnormalities in perinatally HIV-infected children aged 6-19 years. DESIGN:A cross-sectional study. METHODS:HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy and HIV-uninfected children with no active tuberculosis (TB) or acute respiratory tract infection were recruited from a public hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe. Clinical history was collected and eNO testing and spirometry was performed. The association between eNO and explanatory variables (HIV, FEV1 z-score, CD4 cell count, viral load, history of TB) was investigated using linear regression analysis adjusted for age, sex and time of eNO testing. RESULTS:In total, 222 HIV-infected and 97 HIV-uninfected participants were included. Among HIV-infected participants, 57 (25.7%) had a history of past TB; 56 (25.2%) had airway obstruction, but no prior TB. HIV status was associated with lower eNO level [mean ratio 0.79 (95% confidence interval, 95% CI 0.65-0.97), P = 0.03]. Within the HIV-infected group, history of past TB was associated with lower eNO levels after controlling for age, sex and time of eNO testing [0.79 (95% CI 0.67-0.94), P = 0.007]. CONCLUSION:HIV infection and history of TB were associated with lower eNO levels. eNO levels may be a marker of HIV and TB-induced alteration in pulmonary physiology; further studies focused on potential causes for lower eNO levels in HIV and TB are warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


AIDS (London, England)

Publication Date





1711 - 1718


Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.