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HIV and kidney disease in sub-Saharan Africa

Abstract

A wide clinical spectrum of renal diseases affects individuals with HIV. These conditions include acute kidney injury, electrolyte and acid–base disturbances, HIV-associated glomerular disease, acute-on-chronic renal disease and adverse side effects related to treatment of HIV. Studies employing varying criteria for diagnosis of kidney disease have reported a variable prevalence of these diseases in patients with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa: 6% in South Africa, 38% in Nigeria, 26% in Côte d'Ivoire, 28% in Tanzania, 25% in Kenya, 20–48.5% in Uganda and 33.5% in Zambia. Results from these studies also suggest that a broader spectrum of histopathological lesions in HIV-associated kidney disease exists in African populations than previously thought. Strategies to prevent or retard progression to end-stage renal disease of HIV-associated kidney conditions should include urinalysis and measurement of kidney function of all people with HIV at presentation. Renal replacement in the form of dialysis and transplantation should be implemented as appropriate. This Review focuses on the available evidence of renal diseases in patients with HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa and offers practical guidelines to treat these conditions that also take into consideration challenges and obstacles that are specific to sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Points

  • A prevalence ranging between 6% and 48% of chronic kidney disease has been reported among patients with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa

  • The spectrum of kidney disease includes acute kidney injury, electrolyte and acid–base disturbances, HIV-associated glomerular disease, acute-on-chronic renal disease and adverse side effects of HIV treatment

  • Inadequate access to antiretroviral therapy could influence the prevalence and pattern of kidney disease observed in patients with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa

  • Renal replacement therapy is not as easily accessible to patients with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa as it is to their counterparts in developed countries

  • Screening, early diagnosis and early therapy for kidney disease is recommended for all patients with HIV

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Figure 1: Algorithm for the screening of chronic kidney disease in all antiretroviral therapy-naïve patients upon diagnosis of HIV.

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Correspondence to Saraladevi Naicker.

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Fabian, J., Naicker, S. HIV and kidney disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Nat Rev Nephrol 5, 591–598 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrneph.2009.141

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