Background: Diabetes mellitus is a chronic non-infectious medical condition which is evident by raised levels of glucose in the blood, because the body cannot produce any or enough of the hormone insulin or use insulin effectively. Diabetes, if not well managed leads to complications such as neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy which can be fatal. Some of the factors that predisposes to diabetes include older age, higher body mass index, heredity and hypertension. With the availability of HAART for the managing HIV/AIDS infection, life span of persons living with HIV (PLWH) has increased significantly. With increased longevity, the aging population of PLWH also face chronic diseases such as diabetes in addition to HIV. The burden of both HIV and diabetes is high in South Africa, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal. Nevertheless, the prevalence of diabetes among PLWH in KwaZulu-Natal and its predictors is not well understood. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the prevalence, predictors of diabetes and the outcome of managing diabetes among PLWH.
Methods: The study was conducted in four public health care facilities in KwaZulu-Natal after ethical approval and informed consent were obtained. A pretested questionnaire and hospital patient charts were used to collect data. SPSS version was used to analyze the data using descriptive statistics and logistic regression.
Results: The prevalence of diabetes among PLWH was 9%. This was higher than the prevalence of diabetes of 5.4% among the general population in South Africa. Just over 47% of those who had diabetes, had uncontrolled blood sugar, with a mean fasting blood sugar (FBS) of 11.7 mmol/L. The predictors of diabetes among PLWH were, male gender and older age. Male PLWH had 65% less chances of having diabetes and those who were between the ages of 18 and 48 years were 88% less probable to have diabetes compared to those who were older than 48 years.
Conclusion: Public sector health care facilities in KwaZulu-Natal need to do much more to manage diabetes in PLWH in order to prevent diabetic complications and possible negative impact on the outcome of HIV management.