Increased risk of mortality and loss to follow-up among HIV-positive patients with oropharyngeal candidiasis and malnutrition before antiretroviral therapy initiation: a retrospective analysis from a large urban cohort in Johannesburg, South Africa

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We investigated the effect of oropharyngeal candidiasis (OC) and body mass index (BMI) before antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation on treatment outcomes of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–positive patients.

Study Design

Treatment outcomes included failure to increase CD4 count by ≥50 or ≥100 cells/μL or failure to suppress viral load (<400 copies/mL) at 6 or 12 months in addition to loss to follow-up (LTFU) and mortality by 12 months. Risk and hazard ratios (HRs) were estimated with the use of log-binomial regression and Cox proportional hazards models, respectively.


Baseline CD4 <100 cells/μL, low BMI (<18.5 kg/m2), low hemoglobin, and elevated aspartate transaminase were associated with OC at ART initiation. Patients with low BMI with and without, respectively, OC were at risk of mortality (HR 2.42, 95% CI 1.88-3.12; HR 1.87, 95% CI 1.54-2.28) and LTFU (HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.02-1.82; HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.30-1.85).


Low BMI (with/without OC) at ART initiation was associated with poor treatment outcomes. Conversely, normal BMI with OC was associated with adequate CD4 response and reduced LTFU compared with without OC.

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