Comparison of prevalence and risk factors for peripheral neuropathy between patients with HIV infection and patients with concurrent HIV and diabetes mellitus

Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background and aims: The ageing population living with HIV is predisposed to non-communicable comorbidities, including diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy (PN) can occur in both conditions, and it is thought co-existence of both illnesses has a synergistic impact on PN. We sought to identify the prevalence of PN in our population of patients with HIV infection compared with those with both HIV and diabetes.

Methods: We undertook a prospective cross-sectional study at tertiary regional referral hospital. We collected demographics, duration of treatments and disease characteristics. PN symptoms was assessed by the Neuropathy Symptom Score and examined using the Neuropathy Disability Score and monofilament testing

Results: We recruited 68 patients in either group; 55% were males, and median age was 51 years. Overall median duration for HIV was 10 years with median CD4 count of 524 cells/mm3 and for HIV/diabetes group average 3.85 years since diabetes diagnosis with a mean HbA1c of 7.65%. 67% of patients had suppressed viral loads, and 9 patients (6.6%) had history of neurotoxic anti-retroviral therapy use. PN was detected in 11 (16%) HIV-only patients, and in 17 (25%) participants who had both HIV and diabetes (Fisher exact test and corrected chi-square = 0.4). In univariate analysis, old age, high BMI and long duration of HIV were associated with OR of 1.07, 1.21 and 1.07 in the overall group, respectively.

Conclusions: The analysis of our study revealed slightly higher but non-significant prevalence of PN in patients with both HIV and diabetes when compared to HIV alone. HIV disease control had no association with development of PN.


Journal of the Neurological Sciences