Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Stephen Spector, MD (ucsd)



SMARTT will estimate the incidence of conditions and diagnoses potentially related to in utero exposure to antiretroviral therapy and/or exposure in the first two months of life among children born of HIV-infected mothers.


Many antiretroviral therapy (ART) medications given to a pregnant woman cross the placenta and can be detected in the amniotic fluid and cord blood resulting in substantial fetal exposure. Therefore, there is concern about toxicity of the drugs in the fetus and infant. It is noteworthy that none of the currently approved ART medications for the prevention of maternal to fetal transmission of HIV are in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Pregnancy Category A (no fetal risk ascertained in adequately controlled human studies). Thus, there is continued need to examine the toxicity of ART in HIV transmission prevention for the short-term toxicity of newer agents and combinations as well as the unanswered questions of longer term toxicity and subtle adverse effects.

The study will use a registry approach to conduct active surveillance among children < 12 years of age at enrollment. Occurrences of abnormalities from ART exposure in utero and/or in the first two months of life will be sought in multiple domains, including metabolic, growth, cardiac, neurologic, neurodevelopmental, behavior, language, and hearing. Clinical and laboratory data will be examined for abnormalities through a hierarchy of evaluations: adverse events (AE) will be identified → selected AEs will trigger predefined additional evaluations → significant observations will be defined as cases → a pattern of significant study-wide cases will be defined as signals. The incidence of these events of interest will be monitored over time and by ART regimen, and compared with historical data that may be suggestive of a signal. Some signals may be testable using existing and/or previously collected data, while other signals may indicate the need for additional hypothesis-driven studies outside of SMARTT.

The objectives of SMARTT are:

  1. To estimate the occurrence of potential ART-related toxicities through an ongoing surveillance system among HIV-uninfected children born to mothers with HIV infection with and without exposure to ART in utero and/or in the first two months of life and compare the occurrences of these outcomes with other sources of data as well as by ART exposures; and
  2. To actively encourage hypothesis-driven studies to confirm that the signals are due to ART exposure in utero and/or in the first two months of life. Note that the full design and execution of these studies may be beyond the scope of the SMARTT study but will be facilitated by SMARTT.

The specific aims of SMARTT are:

  1. To create a Static Surveillance Cohort to extend domain-specific data collection in children either 1) previously enrolled in any of the approved studies for enrollment into SMARTT; 2) previously enrolled in another pediatric HIV/AIDS cohort study with SMARTT Protocol Chair approval, or 3) not previously enrolled in an approved study but with equivalent data available in the medical record;
  2. To create a Dynamic Surveillance Cohort to examine domain-specific data of children newly exposed to ART in utero and/or in the first two months of life;
  3. To create a Young Adult Cohort to study long-term outcomes in SMARTT participants formerly enrolled in the Static and Dynamic cohorts.
  4. To identify a set of "triggers" for each domain that define a "signal" of possible ART toxicity and compare the occurrence of these signals with previously collected data and by ART exposure; and
  5. To encourage and facilitate the development of hypothesis-driven studies to evaluate whether a "signal" is the result of ART exposure in utero and/or in the first two months of life.


Antiretroviral Toxicity, Conditions and diagnoses potentially related to perinatal exposure to antiretroviral medications


You can join if…

Dynamic Cohort:

  • HIV-exposed living fetus greater than or equal to 23 weeks gestation or a live infant born after 22 weeks gestation. Infants exposed and unexposed to ART will be enrolled.
  • Any infant born of an HIV-infected mother may be enrolled pending determination of the infant's HIV infection status. However, infants found to be HIV-positive will be discontinued from the study and will be referred for care outside this study. HIV infection status will be determined using the Diagnosis of Lack of Infection in HIV-Exposed Children.
  • ART exposure data by trimester of pregnancy must be available if ART exposed.
  • Entry prior to birth through < 72 hours of age.
  • Willingness of parent/legal guardian to provide written permission for child to participate in study.
  • Willingness of biological mother to enroll at initial enrollment of her child.

You CAN'T join if...

Dynamic Cohort:



  • University of California San Diego accepting new patients
    La Jolla California 92093 United States
  • University of Southern California accepting new patients
    Los Angeles California 90033 United States

Lead Scientist at University of California Health

  • Stephen Spector, MD (ucsd)
    Dr. Spector, a world leader in HIV research for more than 25 years, is Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Director of the UCSD Mother-Child-Adolescent HIV Program.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH)
Pediatric HIV/AIDS Cohort Study
Study Type
Expecting 3400 study participants
Last Updated