Prevalence, severity, and related factors of anemia in HIV/AIDS patients

J Res Med Sci. 2012 Feb;17(2):138-42.


Objective: The prevalence of anemia in HIV infected patients has not been well characterized in Iran. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of anemia and related factors in HIV positive patients.

Materials and methods: In a cross-sectional study, anemia prevalence and risk factors of 212 HIV positive patients were assessed, at the behavioral disease consulting center in Isfahan. The relationship between anemia, demographic variables, and clinical histories were analyzed. Mild to moderate anemia was defined as hemoglobin 8-13 g/dL for men and 8-12 g/dL for women. Severe anemia was defined as hemoglobin, 8 g/dL.

Results: A total of 212 HIV positive patients with a mean±SD age of 36.1 ± 9.1 years were assessed. We found that hemoglobin levels were between 4.7 and 16.5 gr/dL. In this study, the overall prevalence of anemia was 71%, with the majority of patients having mild to moderate anemia. Mild to moderate anemia and severe anemia occurred in 67% and 4% of patients, respectively. The mean absolute CD4 count was 348 ± 267.8 cells/cubic mm. Sixty one of 212 patients were at late stage of HIV infection (males=51 and female=10). Of the 212 HIV positive patients enrolled, 17 (8%) had a positive history of tuberculosis. We found a strong association between anemia and death.

Conclusion: Normocytic anemia with decreased reticulocyte count was the most common type of anemia in overall. Prevalence of anemia in this study is relatively higher than other similar studies. Such a high prevalence of anemia needs close monitoring of patients on a zidovudine-based regimen. Better screening for anemia and infectious diseases, and modified harm reduction strategy (HRS) for injection drug users are primary needs in HIV seropositive patients.

Keywords: AIDS; HIV positive; anemia.