Perinatal HIV infection is characterized by faster HIV disease progression and higher initial rate of HIV replication compared to adults. While antiretroviral therapy (ART) has greatly reduced HIV replication to undetectable levels, there is persistent elevated inflammation associated with HIV disease progression. Alteration of gut microbiota is associated with increased inflammation in chronic adult HIV infection. Here, we aim to study the gut microbiome and its role in inflammation in treated and untreated HIV-infected children. Examination of fecal microbiota revealed that perinatally infected children living with HIV had significantly higher levels of genus Prevotella that persisted despite ART. These children also had higher levels of soluble CD14 (sCD14), a marker of microbial translocation, and IP-10 despite therapy. The Prevotella positively correlated with IP-10 levels in both treated and untreated HIV-infected children, while genus Prevotella and species Prevotella copri was inversely associated with CD4 count. Relative abundance of genus Prevotella and species Prevotella copri showed positive correlation with sCD14 in ART-suppressed perinatally HIV-infected children. Our study suggests that gut microbiota may serve as one of the driving forces behind the persistent inflammation in children despite ART. Reshaping of microbiota using probiotics may be recommended as an adjunctive therapy along with ART.
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