Asthma appears to be more common in children who take highly active treatment for HIV infection than in the population of youngsters who are uninfected, according to researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital. Findings from the recent study appear in the March issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
While he thinks more studies are needed to confirm his results, Samuel B. Foster, an instructor in pediatrics in the allergy and immunology section at Baylor, says his results indicate a need for doctors treating children with HIV to carefully screen for asthma. Managing their symptoms and the triggers of their disorder could decrease the need to prescribe asthma medicines that suppress the immune system in patients with already compromised immunity.
Problems with asthma were not seen prior to the emergence of combination therapy, according to Foster. However, antiretrovirals revive the immune system, leading to an overactive immune response to triggers such as mold, pollen, and animal dander'one of the major factors in asthma.