The Leishmaniases are a group of diseases transmitted to humans by the bite of a sandfly, caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Various Leishmania species infect humans, producing a spectrum of clinical manifestations. It is estimated that 350 million people are at risk, with a global yearly incidence of 1-1.5 million for cutaneous and 500,000 for visceral Leishmaniasis (VL). VL is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in East Africa, Brazil and the Indian subcontinent. Co-infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) alters the immune response to the disease. Here we review the immune response to Leishmania in the setting of HIV co-infection. Improved understanding of the immunology involved in co-infections may help in designing prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against Leishmaniasis.
Keywords: AIDS; Co-infection; HIV; Immunology; Leishmaniasis.