Visceral leishmaniasis: another HIV-associated opportunistic infection? Report of eight cases and review of the literature

AIDS. 1991 Feb;5(2):201-7.


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is considered an opportunistic infection in immunocompromised patients. We review the clinical, laboratory, and therapeutic data in 63 patients (eight new cases and 55 cases reported in the literature) with Mediterranean VL (kala azar) and HIV-1 infection to determine whether VL should be considered an opportunistic infection in HIV-infected adults. We conclude that: (1) in areas where both leishmaniasis and HIV-1 infection are endemic, VL may be more frequent among HIV-infected adults; (2) in HIV-infected patients, the clinical picture did not differ significantly from classical kala azar, although it often ran a recurrent course, with resistance to antimonial therapy. We propose the inclusion of VL in the IVC-2 subgroup of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) clinical classification of HIV-1 infection while prospective and larger studies further define whether there are clinical presentations that could justify adding VL to the list of opportunistic infections indicative of AIDS.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / complications*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Opportunistic Infections / complications*
  • Opportunistic Infections / parasitology
  • Opportunistic Infections / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies