2024 World Hypertension Day: APIN Raises Awareness On HIV-Hypertension Link

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Dr. Abiodun Isah.
Dr. Abiodun Isah.

Prior to the 2024 World Hypertension Day, APIN Public Health Initiatives, an NGO, has heightened awareness regarding the connection between HIV and hypertension.

Technical officer, clinical services/NCD integration POC at APIN, Dr. Abiodun Isah shared with the press in Abuja on Thursday, emphasising the increased risk of non-communicable disease complications linked to HIV. He underscored the necessity of integrating HIV and non-communicable disease services for enhanced care of individuals with HIV.

Addressing the overlapping challenges of hypertension and HIV/AIDS, he emphasised the importance of early detection and proactive management to reduce adverse health outcomes. Regular blood pressure monitoring was highlighted as a crucial aspect of HIV management, considering the influence of factors like diet and lifestyle on blood pressure levels.

As Nigeria grapples with the dual burden of HIV/AIDS and hypertension, the integration of care for both conditions emerge as a critical requirement. Expanding access to healthcare services is crucial for effectively managing these chronic diseases, recognising the limitations of a healthcare system primarily focused on acute infections.

With a significant number of people living with HIV under APIN’s care experiencing non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as hypertension, diabetes, renal diseases, cervical cancer and mental health issues, the organisation is enhancing its 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 explained the impact of HIV infection on the cardiovascular system, emphasising its potential to increase susceptibility to hypertension-induced end-organ damage.

He also discussed the significant risk factors associated with hypertension among people living with HIV and how hypertension could pose challenges to 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.

Isah highlighted challenges to adequate care, including fragmented healthcare systems, limited awareness of cardiovascular risks and prevailing socio-economic factors. APIN is dedicated to continually monitoring and evaluating the integration of HIV and NCD services to ensure the provision of high-quality care.

As APIN expands its HIV-NCD integration program across supported health facilities and states in Nigeria, individuals living with HIV can anticipate improved access to comprehensive care prioritising their overall well-being. This initiative showcases APIN’s commitment to promoting health equity and enhancing the quality of life for people living with HIV in Nigeria and beyond.

According to Science Nigeria, World Hypertension Day is observed annually on May 17, falling on Friday this year, with the theme “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!”

The World Hypertension League (WHL) established World Hypertension Day to raise public awareness of hypertension. The WHL sponsored the inaugural World Hypertension Day on May 14, 2005, with May 17 being recognised as World Hypertension Day every year since 2006.

Racheal Abujah
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