Operational research on the correlation between skin diseases and HIV infection in Tigray region, Ethiopia

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BackgroundIn Ethiopia, skin diseases are among the leading causes of outpatient attendance to primary health service. Correlation of skin diseases and HIV has long been recognized and used to guide medical management in resource-limited settings. Therefore, this study aims to assess the correlation of skin diseases and HIV infection, to estimate epidemiological distribution in the study area, and to provide health workers of skin indicators for HIV early detection.MethodsThe operational research was designed as a case-control study and carried out in three intervention districts of Tigray region; baseline and final data on skin diseases and HIV were compared with those of three control districts matched for population size, density, and environmental characteristics. Health workers of intervention districts were trained on skin diseases/STIs diagnosis and treatment. Data were collected from study and control districts and then analyzed at the Italian Dermatological Centre (IDC) in Mekele.ResultsIn the research period, a total of 1044 HIV positive patients were detected. Disorders of skin and mucous membranes statistically related with HIV (P < 0.05) were tongue papillary atrophy (80%), oral hairy leukoplakia (69%), herpes zoster (66%), oral candidiasis (50%), pruritic papular eruption (43%), condylomata acuminata (38%), and telogen effluvium (27%).ConclusionsThe high frequency of oral disorders and telogen effluvium is not described in literature and may be indicative for case detection. Operational research offers significant gains on health service delivery and outcomes at relatively low cost and in a short timeframe.

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