Knowledge, attitudes, and preventive practices regarding ischemic heart disease among HIV-positive individuals in northern Tanzania

Sainikitha Prattipati 1, Jerome J Mlangi 2, Tumsifu G Tarimo 2, Godfrey L Kweka 2, Nathan M Thielman 1 3, Janet P Bettger 4 5, Blandina T Mmbaga 2 6 7 8, Francis M Sakita 2 6, Julian T Hertz 1 9
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Objectives: To describe knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding ischemic heart disease (IHD) among adults with HIV in Tanzania.

Methods: Adults presenting for routine HIV care at a clinic in northern Tanzania were consecutively enrolled and were administered a standardised KAP survey. For each participant, an IHD knowledge score was calculated by tallying correct answers to the IHD knowledge questions, with maximum score 10. Individual 5-year risk of cardiovascular event was calculated using the Harvard NHANES model. Associations between participant characteristics and IHD knowledge scores were assessed via Welch's t-test.

Results: Among the 500 participants, the mean (SD) age was 45.3 (11.4) years and 139 (27.8%) were males. Most participants recognised high blood pressure (n = 313, 62.6%) as a risk factor for IHD, but fewer identified diabetes as a risk factor (n = 241, 48.2%), or knew that aspirin reduces the risk of a secondary cardiovascular event (n = 73, 14.6%). Higher IHD knowledge score was associated with post-primary education (mean 6.27 vs. 5.35, p = 0.001) and with >10% 5-year risk of cardiovascular event (mean 5.97 vs. 5.41, p = 0.045). Most participants believed there were things they could do to reduce their chances of having a heart attack (n = 361, 72.2%). While participants indicated that they adhered to their prescribed medications (n = 488, 97.6%), only 106 (21.2%) attended regular health check-ups.

Conclusion: Efforts are needed to improve gaps in IHD knowledge, and increase uptake of cardiovascular preventative practices among Tanzanian adults with HIV.