Background: Previous research has reported high rates of anemia in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in hospital or tertiary care settings. The objective of this community-based study was to measure the prevalence of anemia and describe the risk factors, with a specific emphasis on HIV symptom burden, in PLWHA in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 319 PLWHA residing in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. We recruited participants from five non-governmental organizations in the Kathmandu Valley. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression analyses were used.
Results: Our study found a 55.8% prevalence of anemia in PLWHA in the Kathmandu Valley. The prevalence of anemia among the participants with first, second, third, and fourth quartiles of HIV symptom burden was 44.8%, 49.3%, 60.3%, and 69.6%, respectively. Compared to the participants with lowest level of HIV symptom burden, the participants with highest level of HIV symptom burden were more likely to have anemia (adjusted odds ratio = 2.14; 95% confidence interval = 1.07 to 4.30).
Conclusion: Due to a high prevalence of anemia in a community-based sample of PLWHA, HIV patients should be counseled on their risk of developing anemia and encouraged to seek timely care for HIV symptoms.