Adolescents and Adults Living with Perinatal HIV cohort

AALPHI is a cohort study of young people who acquired HIV at birth and an HIV negative comparison group

What was this study about?

AALPHI was a prospective cohort of two groups of young people: those living with HIV who acquired it through mother to child (vertical) transmission, who have been followed in childhood through CHIPS; and HIV negative individuals living in families affected by HIV (i.e. who have a parent or sibling with HIV).  The focus of the study was on the impact of life-long HIV and long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART) on various areas of health, including cognitive function and psychosocial issues, and sexual and reproductive health.  Two face-to-face interviews took place over a five year period.  Analyses are ongoing, and some results have been published already.  Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) is ongoing, with young people helping the study team in deciding how best to feedback study findings to children and young people with HIV.

What difference did this study make?

The AALPHI study showed that for many areas of focus, the health of HIV positive young people was similar to that for HIV negative young people in the study, and sometimes also the same as for the general population of young people.  In terms of cognitive function, test results were similar for HIV positive young people who had not been severely ill in the past and HIV negative young people, and only mild impairment was evident.  However, results were a little poorer in young people with vertically acquired HIV who had been very sick in the past.  This work was published in Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2016.  In terms of mental health, an analysis of anxiety and depression data within the cohort suggested that levels of these two factors did not differ by HIV status, although a few young people did have very high scores, highlighting the need for continued support for those most at risk.  Analyses of cardiac function, transition to adult care, self harm and adherence are all in progress.

Type of study

Observational study

Contact details


Who funded the study?

AALPHI was funded by The Monument Trust (Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts).  PPI work is being funded by the MRC and also UCL.

When did it take place?

May 2012 onwards. AALPHI reached its recruitment target for perinatally HIV positive young people in November 2014.

Where did it take place?

The study took place in the UK in NHS clinics and HIV voluntary groups.

Who was included?

300 perinatally HIV positive young people aged 13-21.

100 HIV negative young people aged 13-23.