Integrating hypertension screening at the time of voluntary HIV testing among adults in South Africa

Drain, P. K., Hong, T., Hajat, A., Krows, M., Govere, S., Thulare, H., Moosa, M. Y. S., Bassett, I. and Celum, C.

BACKGROUND: Guidelines recommend integrating hypertension screening for HIV-infected adults, but blood pressure measurements may be dynamic around the time of HIV testing.

METHODS: We measured a seated resting blood pressure in adults (>/=18 years) prior to HIV testing, and again after receiving HIV test results, in an ambulatory HIV clinic in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We assessed sociodemographics, smoking, body mass index, diabetes, substance abuse, and anxiety/depression. We used blood pressure categories defined by the Seventh Joint National Committee (JNC 7) classifications, which includes normal, pre-hypertension, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension.

RESULTS: Among 5,428 adults, mean age was 31 years, 51% were male, and 35% tested HIV-positive. Before HIV testing, 47% (2,634) had a normal blood pressure, 40% (2,225) had prehypertension, and 10% (569) had stage 1 or 2 hypertension. HIV-infected adults had significantly lower blood pressure measurements and less hypertension, as compared to HIV-negative adults before HIV testing; while also having significantly elevated blood pressures after HIV testing. In a multivariable model, HIV-infected adults had a 30% lower odds of hypertension, compared to HIV-uninfected adults (aOR = 0.70, 95% CI: 0.57-0.85). In a separate multivariable model, HIV-infected adults with CD4 200 cells/mm3. The mean arterial blood pressure was 6.5 mmHg higher among HIV-infected adults after HIV testing (p <0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: HIV-infected adults experienced a transient blood pressure increase after receiving HIV results. Blood pressure measurements may be more accurate before HIV testing and repeated blood pressure measurements are recommended after ART initiation before formally diagnosing hypertension in HIV-infected adults.

April 12, 2019
Year of publication
Resource types
Journal and research articles
hypertension screening, hypertension, blood pressure, HIV testing, integrated health services

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