Brentlinger PE, Silva WP, Vermund SH, Valverde E, Buene M, Moon TD. Practical Management of HIV-Associated Anemia in Resource-Limited Settings: Prospective Observational Evaluation of a New Mozambican Guideline. AIDS research and human retroviruses. 2016 Jan;32(32). 12-25. PMID: 26178574 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC4692124
Mozambique's updated guideline for management of HIV-associated anemia prompts clinicians to consider opportunistic conditions, adverse drug reactions, and untreated immunosuppression in addition to iron deficiency, intestinal helminthes, and malaria. We prospectively evaluated this guideline in rural Zambézia Province. Likely cause(s) of anemia were determined through prespecified history, physical examination, and laboratory testing. Diagnoses were "etiologic" if laboratory confirmed (sputum microscopy, blood culture, Plasmodium falciparum malaria rapid test) or "syndromic" if not. To assess hemoglobin response, we used serial point-of-care measurements. We studied 324 ambulatory, anemic (hemoglobin <10 g/dl) HIV-infected adults. Study clinicians treated nearly all [315 (97.2%)] for suspected iron deficiency and/or helminthes; 56 (17.3%) had laboratory-confirmed malaria. Other assigned diagnoses included tuberculosis [30 (9.3%)], adverse drug reactions [26 (8.0%)], and bacteremia [13 (4.1%)]. Etiologic diagnosis was achieved in 79 (24.4%). Of 169 (52.2%) subjects who improved (hemoglobin increase of ≥1 g/dl without indications for hospitalization), only 65 (38.5%) received conventional management (iron supplementation, deworming, and/or antimalarials) alone. Thirty (9.3%) died and/or were hospitalized, and 125 (38.6%) were lost to follow-up. Multivariable linear and logistic regression models described better hemoglobin responses and/or outcomes in subjects with higher CD4(+) T-lymphocyte counts, pre-enrollment antiretroviral therapy and/or co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, discontinuation of zidovudine for suspected adverse reaction, and smear-positive tuberculosis. Adverse outcomes were associated with fever, low body mass index, bacteremia, esophageal candidiasis, and low or missing CD4(+) T cell counts. In this severely resource-limited setting, successful anemia management often required interventions other than conventional presumptive treatment, thus supporting Mozambique's guideline revision.