Anemia and risk factors in HAART naïve and HAART experienced HIV positive persons in south west Ethiopia: a comparative study

PLoS One. 2013 Aug 16;8(8):e72202. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072202. eCollection 2013.


Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and its treatment cause a range of hematological abnormalities. Anemia is one of the commonly observed hematologic manifestations in HIV positive persons and it has multifactorial origin.

Objective: We aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of anemia in highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) naïve and HAART experienced HIV positive persons.

Methods: A facility-based comparative cross sectional study was conducted in Jimma University Specialized Hospital from February 1 to March 30, 2012. A total of 234 HIV positive persons, 117 HAART naïve and 117 HAART experienced, were enrolled in this study. Blood and stool specimens were collected from each participant. Blood specimens were examined for complete blood count, CD4 count and blood film for malaria hemoparasite; whereas stool specimens were checked for ova of intestinal parasites. Socio-demographic characteristics and clinical data of the participants were collected using pre-tested questionnaire. Statistical analysis of the data (Chi-square, student's t-test, logistic regression) was done using SPSS V-16.

Results: The overall prevalence of anemia was 23.1%. The prevalence of anemia in HAART naïve and HAART experienced persons was 29.9% and 16.2%, respectively (P = 0.014). Presence of opportunistic infections (P = 0.004, 95% CI = 1.69-15.46), CD4 count <200 cells/µl (P = 0.001, 95% CI = 2.57-36.89) and rural residence (P = 0.03, 95% CI = 1.12-10.39) were found to be predictors of anemia for HAART naïve participants. On the other hand, HAART regimen (ZDV/3TC/NVP) (P = 0.019, 95% CI = 0.01-1.24) and the duration of HAART (P = 0.007, 95% CI = 0.003-0.40.24) were found to be predictors of anemia for HAART experienced groups.

Conclusion: The prevalence of anemia in HAART naïve persons was higher than HAART experienced persons. Risk factors for anemia in HAART naïve and HAART experienced HIV positive persons were different. Hence, there is a need for longitudinal study to further explore the causes of HIV associated anemia and the pattern of hemoglobin changes with initiation of HAART.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anemia / complications*
  • Anemia / drug therapy
  • Anemia / physiopathology
  • Anemia / virology
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • HIV-1 / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lamivudine / therapeutic use*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nevirapine / therapeutic use*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Zidovudine / therapeutic use*


  • Lamivudine
  • Zidovudine
  • Nevirapine

Grant support

This work was funded by Jimma University Postgraduate Coordination Office. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.