CD4+ T-Lymphocytes cell counts in adults with human immunodeficiency virus infection at the medical department of a tertiary health institution in Nigeria
Objectives: To evaluate the CD4+ cell counts in adults with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections presenting at the medical department of the Federal Medical Centre, Ido-Ekiti, Nigeria. Methods: This study was carried out at the medical department of the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Ido-Ekiti, Nigeria, in the period July-December 2006. FMC, Ido, was recently upgraded to serve as the only center for HIV/AIDS referral, diagnosis and treatment in Ekiti State. The center offers free antiretroviral therapy. All patients with a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, either diagnosed at the center or referred from other hospitals, admitted to the medical department within the study period had their blood sample taken for CD4 cell counts estimation at the first visit to the center, as part of the routine workup to assess their disease status and need for antiretroviral therapy. Results: A total of 87 patients comprising of 54 (62.1%) females and 33 (37.9%) males had their CD4+ T-Lymphocytes cell counts evaluated within their first week of presentation. The total mean age of the population studied was 33.17 ± 7.01 years. The mean age of the females was 31 ± 5.6 years, while that of the males was 36.5 ± 8.2 years. The difference between the mean ages of females and males was statistically significant (P = 0.0004). The female: male ratio was 1.6:1. Out of the 87 patients, 30 were referrals from other hospitals within the state. The total mean CD4+ cell count was 230.7 ± 311.9 cells/µL. The mean CD4 cell count of females was 212.17 ± 264.96 cells/µL, while that of males was 261.0 ± 389.19 cells/µL. This difference was not significant (P = 0.4876). Majority of the patients (75, [86.2%]), had CD4 cell count < 350 cells/µL, comprising of 48 females and 27 males. Of the 75 patients, 57 (76%) had a CD4 cell count < 200 cells/µL (33 females vs. 24 males). Conclusion: At the time of HIV diagnosis, majority of our patients had a CD4+ cell count < 200 cells/µL. This was consistent with a relatively advanced disease. More women than men in the population were found positive for HIV. More sustained and vigorous awareness campaigns need be embarked upon in the HIV propaganda in the Ekiti State on one hand and Nigeria on the other hand to bring down this Hydra-headed monster called HIV/AIDS.