Anemia risk factors among people living with HIV across the United States in the current treatment era: A clinical cohort study

B. N. Harding, B. M. Whitney, R. M. Nance, S. A. Ruderman, H. M. Crane, G. Burkholder, R. D. Moore, W. C. Mathews, J. J. Eron, P. W. Hunt, P. Volberding, B. Rodriguez, K. H. Mayer, M. S. Saag, M. M. Kitahata, S. R. Heckbert, J. A.C. Delaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Anemia is common among people living with HIV infection (PLWH) and is associated with adverse health outcomes. Information on risk factors for anemia incidence in the current antiretroviral therapy (ART) era is lacking. Methods: Within a prospective clinical cohort of adult PLWH receiving care at eight sites across the United States between 1/2010-3/2018, Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were conducted among a) PLWH free of anemia at baseline and b) PLWH free of severe anemia at baseline to determine associations between time-updated patient characteristics and development of anemia (hemoglobin < 10 g/dL), or severe anemia (hemoglobin < 7.5 g/dL). Linear mixed effects models were used to examine relationships between patient characteristics and hemoglobin levels during follow-up. Hemoglobin levels were ascertained using laboratory data from routine clinical care. Potential risk factors included: age, sex, race/ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status, hazardous alcohol use, illicit drug use, hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), CD4 cell count, viral load, ART use and time in care at CNICS site. Results: This retrospective cohort study included 15,126 PLWH. During a median follow-up of 6.6 (interquartile range [IQR] 4.3-7.6) years, 1086 participants developed anemia and 465 participants developed severe anemia. Factors that were associated with incident anemia included: older age, female sex, black race, HCV coinfection, lower CD4 cell counts, VL ≥400 copies/ml and lower eGFR. Conclusion: Because anemia is a treatable condition associated with increased morbidity and mortality among PLWH, hemoglobin levels should be monitored routinely, especially among PLWH who have one or more risk factors for anemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number238
JournalBMC infectious diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 20 2020


  • Anemia
  • Cohort
  • HIV
  • Hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases


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