Association of Abnormal Liver Function Parameters with HIV Serostatus and CD4 Count in Antiretroviral-Naive Rwandan Women

Jean Claude Dusingize, Donald R. Hoover, Qiuhu Shi, Eugene Mutimura, Emmanuel Rudakemwa, Victorien Ndacyayisenga, Léonard Gakindi, Michael Mulvihill, Jean D.Amour Sinayobye, Emmanuel Musabeyezu, Kathryn Anastos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We determined the associations of HIV infection/CD4 count with markers of hepatocellular damage [elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT)] and liver synthetic function (decreased albumin) in HIV-infected (HIV(+)) antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive and uninfected (HIV(-)) Rwandan women. In 2005, 710 HIV(+) ART-naive and 226 HIV(-) women enrolled in the Rwanda Women's Interassociation Study and Assessment. Liver enzymes were measured with abnormality defined as either AST or ALT ≥1.25 times the upper limit of normal. Low serum albumin level was defined as <3.5 g/dl. Multivariable logistic regression analysis identified independent predictors of elevated AST/ALT and low serum albumin. HIV(-) women had the lowest prevalence (6.6%) of abnormal AST/ALT, with the highest prevalence (16.4%) in HIV(+) women with CD4 <200 cells/μl (p=0.01). The odds of having serum albumin <3.5 g/dl was 5.7-fold higher in HIV(+) than HIV(-) women (OR=5.68, 95% CI: 3.32-9.71). The risk of low albumin decreased from low to high CD4 count, with OR=2.62, 95% CI: 1.66, 4.14 and OR=1.57, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.43 in HIV(+) women with a CD4 count <200 and 200-350 cells/μl, respectively vs. HIV(+) with CD4 >350 (p<0.001 and p<0.05 for all comparisons). Our findings suggest that HIV-associated liver damage may occur in ART-naive patients. Although liver abnormality prevalences in this cohort of HIV-infected Rwandan women are less than reported in developed countries, caution is needed for risk assessment measures to monitor and screen HIV-infected patients pre- and post-ART initiation in African clinical settings to curtail potential risks associated with HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-730
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Research and Human Retroviruses
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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