Association of Body Mass Index, Waist-Hip Ratio, Zinc, Copper, CD4+ T Cells Count and Viral Load in Early HIV Infection in ART Naïve HIV Infected Adults in Taita Taveta County, Kenya

Mwangala L. M. J, Waihenya R, Mwatha J, Mwamburi D. M


During HIV/AIDS micronutrients play a key role in the host defense systems-Micronutrients such as zinc and copper have been implicated to play important roles in immuno-physiologic functions. The aim of the study was to assess the level of zinc and copper among ART naïve HIV positive adults and assess the association with their waist-hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), viral load and immunity. Descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in the voluntary counselling and testing centre (VCT) at Comprehensive Care Clinics  in Taita-Taveta County health care services, Coast, Kenya, blood samples obtained from 192 HIV sero-positive individuals, 18 years of age and gender matched healthy controls were analyzed for zinc and copper using atomic absorption spectrophotometer machine. Data were analysed by statistical (SPSS version 21) computer software. The (mean+ SD) of serum copper and zinc were (158.7+51.0µ/dl, 84.3+51.1µ/dl) in patients and (130.5+17.9 µ/dl, 100.3+5.5 µ/dl) in control group, respectively. Serum zinc level was significantly decreased in HIV patients (P value, 0.05) while serum copper level was significantly increased compared to control group. There was significant association between viral load and waist-hip ratio but not body mass index (P < 0.05). Both body mass index and waist-hip ratio were not significantly associated with CD4+T cells in participants at early HIV infection.

Serum zinc was significantly associated to waist-hip ratio in participants in early HIV infection. (P < 0.05). This study indicates that zinc and copper levels are altered in patients in early HIV infection with more decreased Zinc level suspected with increased duration of the HIV infection. It also demonstrates that the associated characteristics in early HIV infection are different from studies in late stages. In conclusion, waist-hip ratio has been identified as a more sensitive predictor and nutrition status maker than body mass index in early HIV hence can be a decisive benchmark for monitoring HIV progression. 


Zinc; Copper; HIV; Immunity; CD4+, ART Naïve, Waist-hip ratio, Body mass index.

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