Open Access Nutritional and immunological status and their associations among HIV-infected adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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Background. In the search for cost-effective interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality in HIV disease, the identification of nutritional status and levels of micronutrients is very important.

Objective. To generate information on the level of energy malnutrition and on vitamin A, zinc, and hemoglobin levels and their relationships with disease status in HIV-infected adults in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Methods. A cross-sectional study was carried out on 153 HIV-positive adults (19% male, 81% female) living in Addis Ababa. The nutritional status and the levels of zinc, retinol, and hemoglobin were determined by anthropometric and biochemical methods. CD4+ counts and C-reactive protein levels were measured by standard methods.

Results. Of the patients, 18% were chronically energy deficient, 71% were normal, and 11% were overweight. Serum zinc levels were low (< 10.7 mol/L) in 53% of subjects, and serum retinol levels were low (< 30 g/dL) in 47% of subjects. Low hemoglobin levels (< 12 g/dL) were observed in only 4.72% of the study population. CD4+ counts under 200/mm3 and elevated C-reactive protein levels were both found in 21% of the subjects. CD4+ counts were positively and significantly correlated with hemoglobin (r = 0.271, p < .001), zinc (r = 0.180, p < .033), and body mass index (r = 0.194, p < .017). There were significant negative associations between levels of C-reactive protein and levels of zinc (r = −0.178, p < 0.036 and hemoglobin (r = −0.253, p < .002).

Conclusions. Our results provide evidence that compromised nutritional and micronutrient status begins early in the course of HIV-1 infection. Low serum zinc and vitamin A levels were observed in almost half of the subjects. The clinical significance of low serum zinc and vitamin A levels is unclear, and more research is required.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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