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BackgroundHIV remains a significant public health dilemma in West and Central Africa. HIV-related morbidity and mortality are unjustly high, yet little is known about the spectrum of complicating comorbidities in HIV-positive patients who are admitted to hospitals in these regions.MethodsThis study involved a retrospective chart review to determine the common comorbidities and mortality rate of HIV-infected patients admitted over a six month period to the internal medicine service at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), a tertiary care center in Ghana. Patients admitted with a known or new HIV diagnosis from January to July 2016 were included. Data were collected regarding the number of new versus known cases admitted, the most common presenting complaints, final admitting diagnoses, and causes of mortality in these patients.ResultsDuring the six-month study period, 250 HIV-positive patients were admitted to KATH, and 245 of these individuals had valid survival time recorded. Of these patients, 145/245 (59.2%) were female. Median age of patients included in the study was 42 years old (IQR 35-51). The mortality rate for HIV patients admitted to the hospital was 35.5% (87 patients). One hundred and forty-five (59.4%) patients had a known history of HIV documented in their patient charts, while the remaining patients were newly diagnosed with HIV during their inpatient stay. Pulmonary tuberculosis predominated among diagnostic findings, with 40.4% of HIV-infected patients diagnosed with the condition while admitted. Patients presenting with neurological symptoms on admission were 2.14 (95% CI: 1.27-3.61) times more likely to die than those without neurological symptoms (p = .004).ConclusionsOver 40% of HIV-positive patients admitted to KATH were newly diagnosed with HIV at admission. While pulmonary tuberculosis was the most common co-morbidity, patients presenting with neurological symptoms were at higher risk of death. This study suggests that enhanced outpatient screening is needed for early diagnosis and prompt HAART initiation, as well as increased access to diagnostic modalities and treatment for HIV-positive patients with neurological symptoms.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC infectious diseases

Publication Date





Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana.


Humans, HIV, Tuberculosis, Pulmonary, AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections, HIV Infections, Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active, Hospitalization, Retrospective Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Comorbidity, Adult, Middle Aged, Hospitals, Teaching, Ghana, Female, Male, Tertiary Care Centers