Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization in HIV outpatients: persistent or transient?

Am J Infect Control. 2008 Apr;36(3):187-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2007.05.012.


Background: Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage in HIV patients remains incompletely characterized. The aim of the present study was to describe epidemiologic and molecular features of S. aureus nasal colonization in HIV outpatients.

Methods: HIV outpatients with no history of hospitalization within the previous 2 years were screened for S aureus nasal colonization. Three samples were collected from each patient, and the risk factors for colonization were assessed. Nasal carriage was classified as persistent colonization, transient colonization, or no colonization. Persistent colonization was subdivided into simple (same DNA profile) or multiple (different DNA profiles) using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) for genotyping the strains of S. aureus.

Results: A total of 111 patients were evaluated, of which 70 (63.1%) had at least 1 positive culture for S aureus. Patients in clinical stages of AIDS were more likely to be colonized than non-AIDS patients (P = .02). Among the patients with S aureus nasal carriage, 25.2% were transient carriers and 39.4% were persistent carriers. PFGE analysis showed that the persistent colonization was simple in 24 patients and multiple in 17 patients.

Conclusion: The HIV patients had a high rate of S. aureus nasal colonization. The most common characteristic of colonization was simple persistent colonization showing the same genomic profile.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nose / microbiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / classification
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*


  • DNA, Bacterial