Author(s): Knox TA, Spiegelman D, Skinner SC, Gorbach S, Knox TA, Spiegelman D, Skinner SC, Gorbach S
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal dysfunction in the era of improved treatment of HIV infection. METHODS: Gastrointestinal function was studied cross-sectionally in 671 persons with HIV. Absorptive function was measured by a 25-g D-xylose test, a Sudan-III stain for fecal fat on a 100-g fat diet, and serum levels of micronutrients. RESULTS: Eighty-eight percent had at least one abnormality of gastrointestinal function: 47.7\% had low D-xylose absorption; 40.3\% had a history of liver disease; 38.9\% had diarrhea; 28.3\% had chronic diarrhea; 22.5\% had borderline or low serum vitamin B12 levels; 12.2\% had stool pathogens; and 7.2\% were hypoalbuminemic. Men were more likely to have low D-xylose absorption, diarrhea, and stool pathogens than women. Intravenous drug users (IVDUs) were more likely to have a history of liver disease and hypoalbuminemia. However, borderline or low vitamin B12 levels were less frequent in IVDUs; they tended to have less diarrhea and a lower prevalence of stool pathogens. Despite less history of liver disease, 14.1\% of women were hypoalbuminemic. Differences in patterns of gastrointestinal dysfunction are unlikely to be due to severity of immunosuppression as abnormalities were seen in all risk groups with CD4 >200 cells/mm3. D-xylose absorption below 30 mg/dl, current diarrhea, and borderline levels of vitamin B12 were associated with advanced immunosuppression. CONCLUSIONS: Abnormalities of gastrointestinal function are common in the current era of HIV treatment, appear early in the course of HIV infection, and in the absence of diarrhea. Gender and IVDU are important determinants of the type and frequency of gastrointestinal abnormalities.
This article was published in Am J Gastroenterol
and referenced in HIV: Current Research