Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of cardiovascular disease risk factors, is increasingly common in people living with HIV; however, data on prevalence and the role of antiretroviral therapy (ART) as a risk factor for MetS in sub-Saharan Africa are lacking. We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence and risk factors for MetS among ART-naive and ART-experienced HIV-infected adults without preexisting cardiometabolic disorders in Western Kenya using validated questionnaires and laboratory tests after overnight fasting. We used logistic regression to identify associations between traditional risk factors, HIV disease characteristics, ART, and MetS. Study participants included 164 ART-experienced patients, majority (56%) on tenofovir/lamivudine/nevirapine regimen, and 136 ART-naive patients. The median age was 40 (interquartile range, 33-46) years and 64% were women. Median HIV infection and ART use were 4.6 (1.7-7.9) and 4.8 (2.7-7.8) years, respectively. Prevalence of MetS did not differ between ART-experienced (16.9%) and -naive (15.2%) groups. ART-experienced patients had higher rates of elevated fasting blood sugars and lower rates of low high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol. The prevalence of abnormal waist circumference, elevated blood pressure, and hypertriglyceridemia were comparable between the two groups. Older age, female sex, and high body mass index were independently associated with diagnosis of MetS. Traditional risk factors rather than ART-related effects were more important predictors of MetS in this cohort and may have been influenced by ART type and exclusion of preexisting hypertension and diabetes. HIV-infected patients without preexisting cardiometabolic disorders should be monitored for metabolic abnormalities regardless of ART.
Keywords: HIV; Kenya; antiretroviral therapy; cardiovascular diseases; metabolic syndrome; sub-Saharan Africa.