Nutritional status of HIV-positive patients in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Nutritional status of HIV-positive patients in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

More than 600,000 AIDS cases have been reported in Brazil since the appearance of the first patient in 1980. Around 180,000 HIV-infected Brazilian patients are under combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), taking drugs supplied by the Ministry of Health and distributed all over the country through a network of public hospitals. As happened elsewhere, the incidence of opportunistic infections and neoplasms has declined since the widespread introduction of cART, and these are no longer the main causes of death in Brazilian AIDS patients, having been replaced by liver disease, a complication related to, or worsened by, antiretroviral drugs. Other problems probably due to these drugs are the increase in circulating lipids and fatty mass, obesity and fat redistribution, and metabolic disturbances that may lead to insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, and, ultimately, to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

This paper studies the nutritional status of HIV-positive outpatients in a public hospital in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro State, Southeastern Brazil. The study looks for differences in their nutritional status that might be related to sex and other variables and compared their nutritional status with those found in other studies carried out with HIV seropositive patients and in the Brazilian population at large.

Against the common belief that HIV-positive patients are now more overweight than the general population, the frequencies of overweight and obesity in this study are lower, and the frequency of undernourishment is higher than in the population at large. Malnutrition and obesity are more common among women. Factors associated with excess weight are the feminine sex, age below 40 years, low educational level, hypertension, and being a non-smoker.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.