Background: Anemia is the most common hematologic abnormality in HIV patients and is associated with disease progression and decreased survival. This study aims to describe the prevalence and predictors of anemia in HIV positive patients at the time of ART initiation at public health facilities of Arba Minch town, Southern Ethiopia. Methods: A total of 411 adults (?15 years) HIV positive patients with complete information on hemoglobin levels and CD4 count and clinical characteristics registered from 2006 to 2013 were assessed for anemia prevalence and risk factors at the ART clinic of the Arba Minch hospital and health center. The measurements of Hemoglobin and CD4 + T cell count were performed using standard methodology at baseline of ART initiation. Results: A total of 411 HIV positive patients (195 males and 216 females) with a mean ± SD age of 33.9 ± 9.0 years were assessed. Hemoglobin levels were between 6.0 and 16.5 mg/dL. The overall prevalence of anemia at the time of ART initiation was 52.3%; with 28.1%, 22.9% and 1.3% mild, moderate and severe anemia respectively. The overall prevalence of anemia was 62.4% among males and 46.7% among females (P < 0.001). An increased risk of anemia was seen in males (adjusted OR = 2.78, 95% CI = 1.77 - 4.35); low CD4 cell counts (adjusted OR = 3.48, 95% CI = 2.09 - 5.79); and history of TB (adjusted OR = 2.89, 95% CI = 1.28 - 6.54). Conclusions: Anemia in HIV-positive patients was highly prevalent at the time of ART initiation. Male gender, low CD4 count and history of TB were associated with higher risk of baseline anemia.
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