Characteristics of HIV/AIDS Patients Presenting Late at a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria
Background: The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has significantly reduced the morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS. This benefit that HAART confers can only be maximized if patients present early. This study was embarked upon to describe the characteristics of patients presenting late at a teaching hospital in north central Nigeria. Methodology: This was a cross sectional study of patients who presented late with HIV/AIDS admitted into the medical wards of the Jos University Teaching Hospital over a one year period. Late presentation was defined as patients presenting in CDC class B or C Results: 56.7% of patients who were admitted with HIV /AIDS presented late with the majority (79%) being in CDC class C. The median CD4+ cell count was 88 cells/mm3 with a range of 12 -552 cells/mm3. Reasons for late presentation included fear of stigma 35 (46.7%), financial constraints 23 (30.7%), faith in herbal / spiritual healing 8 (10.7%) and not believing in HIV treatment 5 (6.7%). No one came to hospital in late stage because of distance from hospital. Similarly HCT services were not accessed early because of fear of stigma 37 (50.7 %), not wanting to know about status 29 (39.2 %), absence of symptoms 51(68%) and seeing partner as faithful 28 (38.9%). Tuberculosis was the commonest reason for hospitalization Conclusions: Stigma was the major reason for delayed HIV testing and late presentation.. Public education and enlightenment on the need for routine HCT and early presentation for care and treatment is advocated.
Key Words HIV/AIDS, Late presentation, Stigma, Tuberculosis