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J Clin Nurs. 2001 Sep;10(5):609-17.

Nutritional status, symptoms experienced and general state of health in HIV-infected patients.

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Outpatient Clinic, Department of Infectious Disease, Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


The aim of the study was to describe HIV-infected patients with respect to nutritional status, symptoms experienced, general state of health, and relevant medical and laboratory data. An additional aim was to study the relationships between some of these variables. On admission to an acute care hospital in Sweden, 25 HIV-positive men were consecutively included in the study. Medical data, anthropometric variables such as weight, height, body mass index (BMI) and percentage weight loss were studied. The following instruments were used: the subjective global assessment (SGA) was used to determine nutritional status; the oral assessment guide (OAG) was used for subjective assessment of the oral cavity; and the numeric rating scale (NRS) was used to assess the symptoms experienced. The Health Index (HI) was used to evaluate general state of health. The results showed that more than half of the patients had suspected/severe malnutrition; between 48% and 72% complained of moderate to severe symptoms of various kinds. Two thirds felt their general state of health was rather poor or very poor. Correlations showed that the lower the BMI, the worse the nutritional status (SGA); the greater the weight loss in percent, the worse the nutritional status (SGA); and the worse the general state of health (HI), the worse the nutritional status (SGA). In conclusion, it is important that nurses have good knowledge concerning nutritional problems in order to be able to detect these conditions at an early stage and/or to endeavour to prevent them.

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