BACKGROUND. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest incidence of HIV infection. According to recent census statistics, 5.6 million people in
South Africa (SA) are HIV-positive, the highest number of infected individuals worldwide. Over 80% of HIV-infected individuals will
present with ear, nose and throat (ENT) manifestations. Previous studies show that oral diseases seem to be the most common ENT-related
manifestation, reported in about 40 - 50% of HIV-infected patients. In SA, there is lack of local information regarding the otolaryngological
and head and neck manifestations in HIV-infected individuals.
OBJECTIVE. To ascertain our local trends of ENT and head and neck manifestations in HIV-infected patients seen at our specialised ENT-HIV
Clinic, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, Gauteng Province, SA.
METHODS. A 1-year prospective study involving 153 HIV-infected patients was conducted in the clinic from January to December 2011.
Patient history was taken and examinations were performed based on the World Health Organization (WHO) HIV/AIDS classification
system. Data analysis was performed using Epi Info 7 software.
RESULTS. The most common manifestations were adenoid hypertrophy/hyperplasia followed by cervical lymphadenopathy, chronic
suppurative otitis media, otitis media with effusion and sensory-neural hearing loss.
CONCLUSION. Patients typically presented with early manifestations during symptomatic WHO stages I and II in contrast to results reported
in similar developing world studies from Iran, Nigeria and India. A possible explanation may lie in the SA government HIV Counselling
and Testing campaign and the antiretroviral rollout programme, the effectiveness of which is becoming evident.