2024 World Hypertension Day: NGO raises awareness on HIV-hypertension link

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By Abujah Racheal

APIN Public Health Initiatives, an NGO, says there is need to create awareness on the link between HIV and hypertension.

Dr Abiodun Isah, Technical Officer, Clinical Services, APIN, spoke with newsmen on Thursday in Abuja in commemoration of the World 2024 World Hypertension Day.

Isah highlighted the increased risk of non-communicable disease complications associated with HIV.

He said there was need to integrate HIV and non-communicable disease services to improve care for those living with HIV.

According to him, early detection and proactive management will mitigate the adverse health outcomes of hypertension and HIV/AIDS.

“Regular blood pressure monitoring is a critical component of HIV management because of the impact of factors like diet and lifestyle on blood pressure levels.’’

Isah said that as Nigeria battled with the dual burden of HIV/AIDS and hypertension, the integration of care for both conditions emerged as a pressing need.

He highlighted the importance of expanding access to healthcare services for the effective management of chronic diseases, acknowledging the limitations of a healthcare system primarily structured for acute infections.

“With a significant number of people living with HIV in APIN’s care experiencing Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as hypertension, diabetes, renal diseases, cervical cancer, and mental health issues, we are  strengthening the HIV-NCD service integration programme.

“Currently supporting 308,497 active people living with HIV across 423 health facilities in Nigeria, APIN aims to address the interconnected health challenges faced by this population.’’

Isah said the impact of HIV infection on the cardiovascular system underscored its potential to heighten susceptibility to hypertension-induced end-organ damage, including cerebrovascular accidents (stroke), nephropathy (kidney damage) and myocardial infarction.

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He said there was significant risk factor associated with hypertension among people living with HIV and how it could contribute to challenges in HIV drug therapy, adherence, morbidity and mortality.

“Despite advancements in HIV treatment, disparities persist in monitoring and managing cardiovascular risk factors among individuals with HIV.

“Challenges to adequate care include fragmented healthcare systems, limited awareness of cardiovascular risks, and prevailing socio-economic factors.’’

He said that APIN was committed to continuously monitoring and evaluating the integration of HIV and NCD services to ensure the delivery of high-quality care.

“As APIN expands its HIV-NCD integration programme across supported health facilities and states in Nigeria, individuals living with HIV can expect improved access to comprehensive care that prioritises their overall well-being.

“This initiative demonstrates APIN’s dedication to promoting health equity and enhancing the quality of life for people living with HIV in Nigeria and beyond,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Hypertension Day is observed on May 17 annually.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!’’(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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