n South African Medical Journal - Otolaryngological and head and neck manifestations in HIV-infected patients seen at Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa : research




Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of HIV infection. According to recent census statistics, 5.6 million people in South Africa (SA) are HIV-positive, the highest number of infected individuals worldwide. Over 80% of HIV-infected individuals will present with ear, nose and throat (ENT) manifestations. Previous studies show that oral diseases seem to be the most common ENT-related manifestation, reported in about 40 - 50% of HIV-infected patients. In SA, there is lack of local information regarding the otolaryngological and head and neck manifestations in HIV-infected individuals.

To ascertain our local trends of ENT and head and neck manifestations in HIV-infected patients seen at our specialised ENT-HIV Clinic, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, Gauteng Province, SA.
A 1-year prospective study involving 153 HIV-infected patients was conducted in the clinic from January to December 2011. Patient history was taken and examinations were performed based on the World Health Organization (WHO) HIV/AIDS classification system. Data analysis was performed using Epi Info 7 software.
The most common manifestations were adenoid hypertrophy/hyperplasia followed by cervical lymphadenopathy, chronic suppurative otitis media, otitis media with effusion and sensory-neural hearing loss.
Patients typically presented with early manifestations during symptomatic WHO stages I and II in contrast to results reported in similar developing world studies from Iran, Nigeria and India. A possible explanation may lie in the SA government HIV Counselling and Testing campaign and the antiretroviral rollout programme, the effectiveness of which is becoming evident.


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