High prevalence of giardiasis and stronglyloidiasis among HIV-infected patients in Bahia, Brazil

Braz J Infect Dis. 2001 Dec;5(6):339-44. doi: 10.1590/s1413-86702001000600008.


Diarrhea due to intestinal microbial infections is a frequent manifestation among HIV-infected patients. It has been postulated that HIV-infected patients may have special types of intestinal infections, and that immune activation from such parasites may affect the progression of HIV disease. To evaluate these associations, the frequency of infections was examined in HIV-infected patients in Bahia, Brazil. To determine the potential impact of the presence of intestinal parasitic infections on HIV disease progression, a retrospective study approach was used. The medical charts of 365 HIV-infected patients who had been treated at the AIDS Clinic of the Federal University of Bahia Hospital were reviewed, and the prevalence of parasites was compared with 5,243 HIV-negative patients who had attended the hospital during the same period of time. Among HIV-infected subjects, CD(4) count, RNA plasma viral load (VL), and number of eosinophils were compared according to their stool examination results. The overall prevalence of each parasite was similar for HIV-positive and HIV-negative patients. However, the prevalence of S. stercoralis (p<10(-7)) and G. lamblia (p=0.005) was greater for HIV-infected subjects. The mean CD(4) count and viral load of HIV patients in our clinic who had stool examinations was 350 cells +/- 340 and 4.4 +/- 1.4 log RNA viral load, respectively. In this patient group there was no clear association between the level of the absolute CD(4) count or the viral load and a specific parasitic infection. The presence of an intestinal parasitic infection was not associated with faster progression of the HIV disease among HIV-infected patients. We conclude that strongyloidiasis and giardiasis are more frequent in HIV-infected patients in Bahia, Brazil. If this association is due to immune dysregulation, as has been proposed elsewhere, it must occur in patients after only minor shifts in CD(4) count from normal levels, or as a result of immune dysfunction not represented by CD(4) count. These infections do not appear to alter the progression of HIV disease.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / epidemiology*
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / parasitology
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Feces / parasitology
  • Female
  • Giardia lamblia / isolation & purification
  • Giardiasis / epidemiology*
  • Giardiasis / parasitology
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / epidemiology
  • Intestinal Diseases, Parasitic / parasitology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Strongyloides stercoralis / isolation & purification
  • Strongyloidiasis / epidemiology*
  • Strongyloidiasis / parasitology
  • Viral Load


  • RNA, Viral