Olfactory identification in HIV positive adults living in Benin city, Nigeria

Oghogho E. Braimah, Ngozi C. Onyeagwara


Background: Olfactory function has been shown to be impaired in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The advent of anti-retroviral therapy has resulted in prolonged survival of these patients requiring increased focus on factors that affect their quality of life including olfaction.

Methods: The study was conducted at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City. Consenting adult HIV positive patients were assisted to fill a proforma after which they had rigid nasendoscopy done to rule out peripheral causes of anosmia such as nasal infections, nasal polyps and tumours. The brief smell identification test (BSIT) scratch and sniff tests were then administered to those included in the study.  The same procedure was repeated with consenting HIV negative subjects serving as control.

Results: There was a statistically significant difference between olfactory identification ability of HIV positive and HIV negative adults (p=0.001). Cases were 2.92 times likely to have abnormal smell identification abilities than controls.

Conclusions: Olfactory identification ability is reduced in PLWHA relative to the HIV negative population.


BSIT, HIV, Nasendoscopy, Olfactory identification, PLWHA

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