Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 312-318

A study of anemia in human immunodeficiency virus patients: Estimating the prevalence, analyzing the causative effect of nutritional deficiencies, and correlating the degree of severity with CD4 cell counts

1 Department of Internal Medicine, PGIMER and Dr. RML Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Internal Medicine, Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Ajay Panwar
Department of Internal Medicine, PGIMER and Dr. RML Hospital, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, New Delhi - 110 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-2870.182499

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Background: Anemia is a common complication of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The role of iron, Vitamin B12, and folate deficiencies, which are otherwise most common causes of anemia, is not well-established in HIV patients. Several studies in India have shown that severe immunodeficiency is associated with higher grade of anemia, but correlation of CD4 cell counts with severity of anemia is not well-documented. Aims: The aims of the present study were: To estimate the point prevalence of anemia in HIV patients, to analyze the causative role of iron, Vitamin B12, and folate deficiencies in anemic HIV patients, and correlating the degree of severity of anemia with CD4 cell counts. Materials and Methods: This study was a cross-sectional study. The study group enrolled 103 consecutive HIV patients attending medical emergency, medical outpatient department, medical wards, and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) center at a tertiary care medical center in North India. Study participation consisted of a single visit during which relevant data, including medical history, current medications, CD4 T-lymphocyte count, complete hemogram with red blood cell indices, peripheral smear picture, iron studies, serum Vitamin B12, serum folate and bone marrow studies, were recorded on a case report form. Anemia was classified according to the World Health Organization criteria. Data analysis was carried out using Microsoft Excel and Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software. Results: 86.4% (89/103) patients were found to be anemic. There was no significant difference in prevalence of anemia in ART-naive patients from those who were on ART (P > 0.05). Pearson's correlation had shown a highly significant positive correlation of hemoglobin and CD4 cell counts in male patients (r = 0.418) as well as female patients (r = 0.565). Normocytic normochromic was the most common type of anemia in males (46%) as well as females (42%). Significant iron deficiency (P = 0.022) was observed in 42.85% of the patients having microcytic hypochromic anemia. Significant Vitamin B12 and folate deficiencies were observed in patients having macrocytic anemia (47.05%, P = 0.003 and 35.29%, P = 0.012, respectively). Conclusions: This study shows that anemia is highly prevalent in HIV patients and severity of anemia increases with decrease in CD4 cell counts. Nutritional deficiencies play a significant role in causing anemia in these patients.

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