High Prevalence and Incidence of Hypertension among Africans Living with HIV
Swiss TPH About 12% of people living with HIV in rural Tanzania have hypertension at the moment of HIV diagnosis. An additional 10% will develop hypertension during the first months of antiretroviral therapy. This represents an incidence 1.5 times higher than that found in Europe or the United States. The findings, published today in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, come from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) in collaboration with partner institutions in Tanzania, Switzerland and Spain.
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa are facing an unprecedented epidemic of both infectious and non-communicable diseases. This ‘double burden of disease’ represents a major strain on already under-resourced health systems. Hypertension, in particular, is an independent, reversible risk factor for cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and renal disease, affecting mortality. Yet, the disease remains largely undiagnosed and undertreated in sub-Saharan Africa.
The research conducted by Swiss TPH is among the first longitudinal studies looking at the development of hypertension among people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. In a cohort of 955 HIV-infected people, 111 (11.6%) were hypertensive at the time of HIV diagnosis. An additional 80 people (9.6%) developed hypertension after starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) against HIV. The incidence of hypertension found in this study after ART initiation is more than 1.5 times higher than the one observed in a large multinational study of Europe, the United States and Australia. (Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith / flickr)