Morbidity and nutrition status of rural drug-naïve Kenyan women living with HIV

Published in: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume 15, issue 3, 2016 , pages: 283–291
DOI: 10.2989/16085906.2016.1205111
Author(s): Charlotte G NeumannDavid Geffen School of Medicine, USA, Winstone NyandikoUSAID – Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Partnership, Kenya, Abraham SiikaUSAID – Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Partnership, Kenya, Natalie DrorbaughJonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health, USA, Goleen SamariJonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health, USA, Grace EttyangSchool of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Kenya, Judith A ErnstIndiana University School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, USA


This paper describes morbidity in a group of HIV-positive drug-naïve rural women in western Kenya. A total of 226 drug-naïve HIV-positive women were evaluated for baseline morbidity, immune function, and anthropometry before a food-based nutrition intervention. Kenyan nurses visited women in their homes and conducted semi-structured interviews regarding symptoms and physical signs experienced at the time of the visit and during the previous week and physical inspection. Blood and urine samples were examined for determination of immune function (CD4, CD8, and total lymphocyte counts), anaemia, malaria, and pregnancy status. Intradermal skin testing with tuberculin (PPD), candida, and tetanus toxoid antigens was also performed to evaluate cell-mediated immunity. Anthropometry was measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. Seventy-six per cent of the women reported being sick on the day of the interview or within the previous week. Illnesses considered serious were reported by 13.7% of women. The most frequent morbidity episodes reported were upper respiratory tract infections (13.3%), suspected malaria (5.85%), skeletal pain (4.87%), and stomach pain (4.42%). The most common morbidity signs on physical inspection were respiratory symptoms, most commonly rhinorrhea and coughing. Confirmed malaria and severe diarrhea were significantly associated with a higher BMI.

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