- 1. Weill Bugando University Collage of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 1464, Mwanza, Tanzania.
HIV infection, a major health problem worldwide, has been reported to be prevalent in trauma patients, thus presents an occupational hazard to health care workers who care for these patients. The purpose of this study was to establish the prevalence of HIV among trauma patients in our setting and to compare the outcome of these patients who are HIV positive with those who are HIV negative. This was a descriptive cross sectional study involving trauma patients aged 11 years and above, admitted to the surgical wards of Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, Tanzania over a six-month period from October 2008 to March 2009. All eligible patients were consecutively enrolled in the study. Data were collected using a pre-tested, coded questionnaire and analyzed using SPSS computer software. A total of 250 trauma patients were recruited and studied. The mean age of the study population was 36.37+/- 15.35. Males accounted for the majority (N=202; 80.8%) of the study population. The prevalence of HIV among trauma patients was 11.6%. Among the HIV positive patients, 26 (89.7%) were males and majority aged 31-40 years. Seventy two percent of HIV positive patients had CD4+ count of > or =200 cells/microl. Overall length of hospital stays (LOS) ranged from 1 – 90 days with mean of 19.11 +/- 15.84 days. Using multivariate logistic regression, injury severity score (ISS) (P=0.0026), revised trauma scores (RTS) (P= 0.002,), HIV seropositivity (P= 0.0012) and CD4+ count (P= 0.001) were significantly found to be associated with increased LOS. Mortality rate was 10.8% and was significantly associated with; the body region injured (P < 0.05), ISS (P = 0.026), RTS (P = 0.001), PTS (P= 0.01), HIV positivity (P= 0.0001) and CD4+ count (P= 0.035). HIV is prevalent among trauma patients in our setting. A substantial risk of exposure to HIV exists in health workers who care for these patients. Thus, all trauma health care workers in this region need to practice universal barrier precautions in order to reduce the risk of exposure to HIV infection. HIV positive patients with CD4+ count > or =200cells/microl have similar prognosis as HIV negative patients and therefore should be treated the same way.