HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) infection has a multi system effect. some publications claimed deterioration of smell perception in HIV. In this study, we present our smell assessment in a group of HIV patients using market available tests.
Cross sectional observational study of 19 patients recruited from a North Wales genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to HIV diagnosed patients. Patients who gave consent for the study were invited to an ENT clinic where smell and nasal assessment took place. Patients had anterior rhinoscoy. Smell Threshold test kit was used to assess smell sensation. Normal score smell threshold was considered if score was 5.5 or above.
16 males and 3 females, age range 22-75 (mean 46 years old). 2 African and 17 Caucasian origin subjects. 14/19 (74%) had HIV diagnosis for less than five years. 11/19 (58%) had hyposmia (mean 4.40 while normal score is 5.50) when tested. 16/19 (84%) complained of no hyposmia prior to testing. 12/19 (63%) had highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) treatment. 6/19 (32%) used recreational drugs (Cannabis). None of the patients had cognitive impairment.
HIV patients had hyposmia although patients did not report it as a compalaint. Smell threshold is affected in HIV positive patients. This is important for patients health and safety. We recommend assessment of smell in HIV positive patients so they become aware of their reduced sense and its implication.