Over-reported peripheral neuropathy symptoms in a cohort of HIV infected and uninfected Rwandan women: the need for validated locally appropriate questionnaires
Background: Peripheral neuropathy symptoms (PNS) are commonly manifested in HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals, although data are limited on the prevalence and predictors of PNS in HIV+ patients from sub-Saharan Africa.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and predictors of PNS in HIV+ and HIV-uninfected (HIV-) Rwandan women.
Methods: Data were analysed from 936 (710 HIV+ and 226 HIV-) women from the Rwanda Women Interassociation Study and Assessment (RWISA), an observational prospective cohort study investigating the effectiveness and toxicity of ART in HIV+ women.
Results: Of 936 enrolled, 920 (98.3%) were included in this analysis with 44% of HIV- and 52% of the HIV+ women reporting PNS (p=0.06). CD4+ count was not associated with PNS, although there was a non-significant trend towards higher prevalence in those with lower CD4+ counts. For the HIV- women, only alcohol and co-trimoxazole use were independently associated with PNS. WHO HIV stage IV illness and albumin . 3.5 were associated with PNS in HIV+ women.
Conclusions: The rate of peripheral neuropathy symptoms reported in this cohort of HIV-infected African women seems implausible, and rather suggests that the screening tool for peripheral neuropathy in culturally diverse African settings be locally validated.
Keywords: Peripheral neuropathy symptoms, HIV and Rwandan women.