HIV Patients More Susceptible To Diabetes, Says Study

A recent study performed by scientists may prove if a link exists between HIV-positive patients and their susceptibility to diabetes.

According to a new study, people who are HIV-positive may be more prone to suffering from diabetes.

Similar studies have been undertaken previously but their findings were never concrete. Therefore, the researchers wanted to observe and delve deeper as to whether there really is an increased risk of developing diabetes for HIV-positive adults.

The Study

For the purpose of the study, the scientists considered survey answers from HIV-positive individuals listed in the Medical Monitoring Project or MMP.

The MMP is basically a database with estimates of the clinical and behavioral features of HIV patients in the United States. The scientists also took into consideration data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES.

For the MMP participants, three in four were men and a little less than 60 percent were 45 years old or above. One in every four had a body mass index that was 30 or more and were obese clinically.

Moreover, one out five participants was infected with HCV, or hepatitis C, and 90 percent of the subjects underwent treatment via antiretroviral therapy in the previous year. Nearly 56.5 percent of the subjects were above the poverty line.

By comparison, nearly 50 percent of the NHANES subjects were male who were 45 years old or older and 91.5 percent of the subjects were above the poverty line. Of these subjects, 36 percent suffered from obesity and less than 2 percent were infected with HCV.

What Did The Results Reveal?

The researchers discovered that one out of 10 MMP subjects suffered from diabetes. Moreover, less than 4 percent and a little more than 52 percent suffered from type 1 and type 2 diabetes, respectively. Four out of 10 participants - which is nearly 44 percent - suffered from an unspecified form of diabetes.

By comparison, diabetes for those who are not HIV-positive was a little more than 8 percent. This figure includes people who got Medicaid in the previous year.

Even after accounting for all external factors such as obesity, age, and time since HIV diagnosis, the study revealed that diabetes is at least 3.8 percent higher among HIV-positive people than it is among the general public.

The scientists also added that obesity does increase the risk of developing diabetes in adults. However, even in the absence of obesity, HIV-positive adults showed a higher vulnerability to diabetes.

"Although obesity is a risk factor for prevalent [diabetes] among HIV infected adults, when compared with the general US adult population, [these] adults may have higher [diabetes mellitus] prevalence at younger ages, and in the absence of obesity," surmised the researchers.

Although the study hints that HIV-positive people are more likely to be afflicted by diabetes mellitus, scientists are of the opinion that more studies that are similar in nature need to be undertaken to establish that the findings portray a true picture.

The study has been published online in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

Photo: Victor Casale | Flickr 

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