Cardiovascular risk factors among people living with HIV in rural Kenya: a clinic-based study

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Objectives: To determine the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and their association with antiretroviral therapy (ART) among HIV-infected adults in a rural sub-county hospital in Kenya.

Methods: This was a descriptive survey of patient charts characterising cardiovascular risk among adult patients (> 18 years) at Ukwala sub-county hospital between June 2013 and January 2015. Post-stratification survey weights were applied to obtain prevalence levels. Adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for each variable related to cardiovascular risk factors were calculated using logistic regression models.

Results: Overall, the prevalence of diabetes mellitus was 0.4%, 0.3% of patients had had a previous cardiovascular event (heart attack or stroke), 40.4% had pre-hypertension, while 10.4% had stage 1 and 2.9% stage 2 hypertension. Up to 14% of patients had elevated non-fasting total cholesterol levels. Factors associated with hypertension were male gender (AOR 1.59, p = 0.0001), being over 40 years of age (AOR 1.78, p = 0.0001) and having an increased waist circumference (OR 2.56, p = 0.0014). Raised total cholesterol was more likely in those on tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) (AOR 2.2, p = 0.0042), azidothymidine (AZT) (AOR 2.5, p = 0.0004) and stavudine (D4T)-containing regimens (AOR 3.13, p = 0.0002).

Conclusions: An elevated prevalence of undiagnosed cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and raised total cholesterol levels was found among people living with HIV. There was an association between raised total cholesterol and nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI)-based ART regimens. Our findings provide further rationale for integrating routine cardiovascular risk-factor screening into HIV-care services.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Cardiovascular Journal of Africa