Association between Sex, CD4 Cell Counts, Antiretroviral Medications, and Olfactory and Gustatory Functions of HIV-Infected Adults

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To investigate the olfactory and gustatory functions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected adults in Ibadan, Nigeria.

Study Design

A cross-sectional study of olfactory and gustatory functions of HIV-infected adults between March 2015 and December 2015.


Tertiary health institution.

Subjects and Methods

A structured questionnaire was administered to participants to obtain relevant sociodemographic and clinical information. Participants’ nadir and most recent CD4 cell count and viral loads were obtained from their medical records. Participants’ body mass indices were determined, and each subjectively rated their olfactory and gustatory performances. Objective olfactory and gustatory functions were determined using validated “Sniffin’ Sticks” and “Taste Strips” impregnated with 4 different concentrations of sucrose, quinine hydrochloride, sodium chloride, and citric acid.


In total, 135 HIV-infected adults, comprising 41 (30.4%) men and 94 (69.6%) women, were evaluated. Their ages ranged from 20 to 70 years, mean 43.4 ± 10.4 years. Participants were on highly active antiretroviral therapy for a mean duration of 75.8 ± 36.9 months. The proportions of male participants in HIV stages 1, 2, and 3 were 18 (43.9%), 19 (46.3%), and 4 (9.8%), respectively, while female participants were 46 (48.9%), 41 (43.6%), and 7 (7.4%), respectively. Participants’ mean olfactory threshold, discrimination, identification, and TDI scores were 8.0 ± 4.9, 9.9 ± 4.7, 8.8 ± 4.5, and 26.7 ± 11.1, respectively, while total taste score was 25.1 ± 5.7.


HIV-infected adults have tendency to develop hyposmia and hypogeusia. These are worse with advanced stage of HIV infection.

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