Prevalence and clinical presentation of HIV infection among newly hospitalised surgical patients at Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

  • C Mkony
  • G Kwesigabo
  • EI Yamuya
  • F Mhalu


Background: In Tanzania information is lacking on the prevalence of HIV infection in surgical patients in tertiary care facilities, in whom there are many points of special interest.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of HIV infection and associated clinical and demographic features among hospitalised surgical patients at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

Setting: Muhimbili National Hospital.

Materials and Methods: Consecutive newly admitted patients were tested for HIV antibodies after pre-test counselling. Sera were tested using a dual ELISA algorithm. The data were analysed to determine the prevalence of HIV infection and relationships of serostatus with clinical and socio-demographic characteristics.

Results: Of 1,534 patients admitted during the study, 1,031(67.2%) consented to HIV testing following pre-test counselling. The prevalence of AlDS-related clinical features in patients who declined to be HIV tested was similar to that of seronegative patients, but significantly lower than that of seropositive patients. The overall age-adjusted HIV prevalence was 10.5% (95% Cl=9.9-14.0). The highest age-specific HIV prevalence was in the age group 35-44 years at 27.9%. No one was infected in the age group 0-4 years (n=111). Differences in prevalence between age groups were statistically significant (p<0.0001). Patients with granulomatous and suppurative infections had HIV prevalence of 28.3%. Twenty of 124 seropositive patients (16.1%) died in hospital compared to 58 of 907(6.4%) of seronegative patients (p=0.0001).

Conclusion: At Muhumbili National Hospital overall HIV prevalence in hospitalised surgical patients were 10.5%, compared to an overall national prevalence of 6.7%. Patients in the age groups 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 years had HIV seroprevalence of 26.8% and 27.9% respectively. Patients with infective conditions had the highest HIV prevalence. HIV seropositive patients were associated with higher hospital mortality than seronegative patients.

East African Medical Journal Vol.80(12) 2003:640-645

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eISSN: 0012-835X