n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - Risk factors and co-morbidities associated with changes in renal function among antiretroviral treatment-naïve adults in South Africa : a chart review - original research

Volume 19 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1608-9693
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6751



Introduction: Our systematic scoping review has demonstrated a research gap in antiretroviral treatment (ART) nephrotoxicity as well as in the long-term outcomes of renal function for patients on ART in South Africa. Bearing in mind the high prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in South Africa, this is of great concern. 

Objectives: To determine the risk factors and co-morbidities associated with changes in renal function in HIV-infected adults in South Africa. 

Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of 350 ART-naïve adult patients attending the King Edward VIII HIV clinic, Durban, South Africa. Data were collected at baseline (pre-ART) and at six, 12, 18 and 24 months on ART. Renal function was assessed in the 24-month period using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease equation and was categorised into normal renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] ≥ 60), moderate renal impairment (eGFR 30–59), severe renal impairment (eGFR 15–29) and kidney failure (eGFR < 15 mL/ min/1.73 m2). Generalised linear models for binary data were used to model the probability of renal impairment over the five time periods, controlling for repeated measures within participants over time. Risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported for each time point versus baseline. 

Results: The cohort was 64% female, and 99% were Black. The median age was 36 years. At baseline, 10 patients had hypertension (HPT), six had diabetes, 61 were co-infected with tuberculosis (TB) and 157 patients had a high body mass index (BMI) with 25.4% being categorised as overweight and 19.4% as obese. The majority of the patients (59.3%) were normotensive. At baseline, the majority of the patients (90.4%) had normal renal function (95% CI: 86% – 93%), 7.0% (CI: 5% – 10%) had moderate renal impairment, 1.3% (CI: 0% – 3%) had severe renal impairment and 1.3% (CI: 0% – 3%) had renal failure. As BMI increased by one unit, the risk of renal impairment increased by 1.06 (CI: 1.03–1.10) times. The association of HPT with abnormal renal function was found to be insignificant, p > 0.05. The vast majority of patients were initiated on tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) (90.6%), in combination with lamivudine (3TC) (100%) and either efavirenz (EFV) (56.6%) or nevirapine (NVP) (43.4%). 

Conclusion: This study reports a low prevalence of baseline renal impairment in HIV-infected ART-naïve outpatients. An improvement in renal function after the commencement of ART has been demonstrated in this population. However, the long-term outcomes of patients with HIV-related renal disease are not known.

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