About 12 per cent of HIV patients in rural Tanzania, aged above 15, were found to have high blood pressure at the time of diagnosis, a new study in the Plos One Journal shows.
The study suggests that routine screening programmes for high blood pressure (highpertension) should be integrated into HIV programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Other study projects in Tanzania have also advocated integrated screening programs for HIV and other Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
Read a story here: How integrated health checks can reduce HIV stigma.
Researchers from the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), in collaboration with those from Switzerland and Spain carried out the latest study.
Findings suggest that an additional 10 per cent of the people in the studied group will also develop high blood pressure during the first months of antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The study was carried out at a clinic of Chronic Diseases (CDCI) in Kilombero and Ulanga Districts of Morogoro Region.
However, researchers found out that the high blood pressure was neither linked low immunity levels in the patients nor any particular regimen of Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART).
“… [it] rather predicted [the high blood pressure] basing on risk factors such as age, body mass index and kidney function,’ reads part of the study.
The study was co-authored by IHI research scientist, Dr. Kim Mwamelo, along with Eduardo Rodríguez-Arbolí from Virgen del Rocío University Hospital, Seville, Spain, among others.
The latest study is among the first longitudinal studies to have looked how high blood pressure develops among HIV patients in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Among the 955 people infected with HIV, 111of them (11.6 per cent) had high blood pressure at the time of HIV diagnosis, the study shows.
The incidence of high blood pressure among the patients who were involved in the study was found to be about 1.5 times higher—when the patients were put on ARVs—compared to the incidence observed in a large multinational study of Europe, the United States and Australia.
Read medicopress.media for more on the work done by Tanzanian researchers.