Understanding the impact of HIV among a vulnerable population in south India

Thumbnail Image
Zylberman, Melina
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
India has approximately 5.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Karnataka, a southern state in India containing the capital city of Bangalore, is a prime example of an area demonstrating high HIV prevalence. Snehadaan, a care and support centre for PLWHA in the outskirts of Bangalore, has requested assistance from partners at the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust and the University of Manitoba to understand better the needs of their patients to plan the expansion of their services. A retospective chart review of 210 charts from an adult population of HIV infected inpatients who died at Snehadaan between 2010 and 2011 was conducted to describe causes of mortality. Last admission details such as clinical presentation and tuberculosis (TB) and HIV diagnosis and treatment details were also explored. It was found that almost all the patients presented as WHO HIV stage III or IV (96.9%) and 76.4% had CD4 counts less than 200 cells/mm3, but only 56.7% were on antiretoviral therapy (ART) at time of admission. Furthermore, almost halt (49.6%) died within one year from their date of HIV diagnosis and 70.3% were diagnosed during their last admission with TB, a disease that accounted for 39.6% of the total deaths. These findings show that these patients presented late and at advanced stages in their disease and emphasize the importance of continuing to increase awareness of HIV for earlier testing and treatnent and of opportunistic infections such as TB, as they further compromise the health of an already immunocompromised population.