HIV symptom burden and anemia among HIV-positive individuals: cross-sectional results of a community-based positive living with HIV (POLH) study in Nepal

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 31;9(12):e116263. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116263. eCollection 2014.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anemia / epidemiology*
  • Anemia / virology
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / etiology*
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nepal / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • Anti-HIV Agents

Grant support

This study was partially supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (22790581), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan; Waseda University Grants for Special Research Projects, General Grant/Ippan Josei, Japan, (2012A-101); and by the Grant for Research on Global Health and Medicine (No. 21A-2) from the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, Japan. The funding agency had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.