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Baseline CD4 lymphocyte count among HIV patients in Kano, Northern Nigeria

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HIV causes immunodeficiency by infection, lyses and depletion of CD4 T-lymphocytes; hence CD4 count has become a valuable indicator of immune function in the management of HIV infection. Consequently, we evaluated baseline CD4 counts of 500 HIV seropsitive adults in a government sponsored anti-retroviral treatment (ART) scheme at our centre, for the purpose of monitoring subsequent response to anti-retrovirals. The overwhelming majority (92%) of our patients were within the sexually active, 3rd to 5th decade age group, and the mean CD4 count was 302 cells/μl. Half of our patients (251 cases) had AIDS as defined by CD4 count <200 cells/μl and 72% had CD4 count <350 cells/μl, the WHO recommended criterion for instituting ART. In general our HIV seropositives had CD4 counts comparable to other studies here in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, but higher than in East Africa and Europe. In view of the well documented higher CD4 count of West Africans, it might be necessary to upwardly review the WHO recommended 350 cells/μl benchmark for instituting ART. African Journal of Health Sciences Vol. 14 (3-4) 2007: pp. 212-215


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