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Impact of malnutrition and social determinants on survival of HIV-infected adults starting antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings

Argemi, Xaviera; Dara, Somb; You, Sengb; Mattei, Jean F.c; Courpotin, Christianc; Simon, Bernardc; Hansmann, Yvesa; Christmann, Daniela; Lefebvre, Nicolasa

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e328353f363
Epidemiology and Social: Concise Communication

Objectives: Determining the impact of malnutrition, anaemia and social determinants on survival once starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) in a cohort of HIV-infected adults in a rural HIV care centre in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Methods: Retrospective and descriptive cohort study of adults starting ART between December 2004 and July 2009. We used the Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression survival analyses to identify predictors of death.

Results: Out of 1002 patients, 49.7% were men; median age was 40; median time of follow-up was 2.4 years and 10.4% died during the follow-up. At baseline, median CD4 cell count was 83 cells/μl, 79.9% were at WHO stage III or IV. In multivariate analysis, malnutrition appeared to be a strong and independent risk factor of death; 11.2% had a BMI less than 16 kg/m2 and hazard ratio was 6.97 [95% confidence interval (CI), 3.51–13.89], 21.5% had a BMI between 16 and 18 kg/m2 and hazard ratio was 2.88 (95% CI, 1.42–5.82), 30.8% had a BMI between 18 and 20 kg/m2 and hazard ratio was 2.18 (95% CI, 1.09–4.36). Severe anaemia (haemoglobin ≤8.4 g/dl) and CD4 cell count below 100 cells/μl also predicted mortality, hazard ratio were 2.25 (95% CI, 1.02–4.34) and 2.29 (95% CI, 1.01–2.97), respectively. Social determinants were not significantly associated with death in univariate analysis.

Conclusion: Malnutrition and anaemia are strong and independent prognostic factors at the time of starting ART. Nutritional cares are essential for the clinical success of HIV programs started in developing countries.

aDepartment of Infectious Diseases, Nouvel Hopital Civil, Strasbourg, France

bHIV Care Center, Junka Jek Hospital, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

cDepartment of International Relations, French Red Cross, Paris, France.

Correspondence to Xavier Argemi, Infectious Diseases Department, Nouvel Hopital Civil, 1 Place de l’Hôpital, 67000 Strasbourg, France. Tel: +33 609220088; e-mail:

Received 7 August, 2011

Revised 13 March, 2012

Accepted 21 March, 2012

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.