Anaemia in acute HIV-1 subtype C infection

BACKGROUND: The high prevalence of anaemia and the increased morbidity and mortality associated with anaemia during AIDS has been well described yet there has been little information about anaemia and changes in haemoglobin levels during acute and early HIV-1 infection. METHODS: HIV-negative women (n = 245) were enrolled into an observational cohort as part of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) Acute Infection Study. Acute infection was diagnosed following a positive HIV RNA PCR in the absence of antibodies, or detection of HIV-1 antibodies within 3 months of a previously negative antibody test. Haemotologic parameters were assessed before infection and at regular intervals in the first twelve months of HIV infection. RESULTS: Fifty-seven participants with acute HIV infection were identified at a median of 14.5 days post-infection (range 10-81) and were enrolled in the CAPRISA Acute Infection cohort at a median of 41 days post-infection (range 15-104). Mean haemoglobin prior to HIV-1 infection was 12.7 g/dL, with a mean decline of 0.46 g/dL following infection. The prevalence of anaemia increased from 25.0% prior to HIV-1 infection to 52.6% at 3 months post-infection, 61.1% at 6 months post-infection, and 51.4% at 12 months post-infection. CONCLUSIONS: Haematologic derangements and anaemia with a trend towards iron deficiency are common with acute HIV-1 subtype C infection in this small cohort. The negative impact of anaemia concurrent with established HIV infection upon morbidity and mortality has been well documented but the prognostic potential and long-term effects of anaemia during acute HIV-1 infection remain unknown.