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Cooking fuel and respiratory symptoms among people living with HIV in rural Uganda


Household air pollution (HAP) and chronic HIV infection are each associated with significant respiratory morbidity. Little is known about relationships between HAP and respiratory symptoms among people living with HIV. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between cooking fuel type and chronic respiratory symptoms in study participants from the Uganda AIDS Rural Treatment Outcomes Study. Study participants were enrolled at the time of antiretroviral therapy initiation and seen quarterly from 2005 to 2014 for health-focused questionnaires, CD4 count and HIV viral load. We used multivariable logistic regression and generalised estimating equations, with each study visit as a unit of observation, to investigate relationships between cooking fuel type and chronic respiratory symptoms. We observed an association between cooking with firewood (versus charcoal) and chronic cough among HIV-infected females in rural Uganda (adjusted OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.00-1.99; p=0.047). We did not observe an association between cooking fuel type and respiratory symptoms among males (adjusted OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.47-1.63; p=0.658). Associations between cooking fuel and chronic cough in this HIV-infected cohort may be influenced by sex-based roles in meal preparation. This study raises important questions about relationships between household air pollution, HIV infection and respiratory morbidity.

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