Introduction: The co-infection Trypanosoma cruzi/HIV has been described as a clinical event of great relevance. The objective of this study was to describe clinical and epidemiological aspects published in literature.
Methods: It is a systematic review of a descriptive nature from the databases Medline, Lilacs, SciELO, Scopus, from 1980 to 2010.
Results: There were 83 articles (2.8 articles/year) with a total of 291 cases. The co-infection was described in 1980 and this situation has become the defining AIDS clinical event in Brazil. This is the country with the highest number of publication (51.8%) followed by Argentina (27.7%). The majority of cases are amongst adult men (65.3%) native or from endemic regions with serological diagnosis in the chronic stage (97.9%) and indeterminate form (50.8%). Both diseases follow the normal course, but in 41% the reactivation of the Chagas disease occurs. The most severe form is the meningoencephalitis, with 100% of mortality without specific and early treatment of the T. cruzi. The medication of choice was the benznidazole on doses and duration normally used for the acute phase. The high parasitemia detected by direct or indirect quantitative methods indicated reactivation and its elevation is the most important predictive factor. The lower survival rate was related to the reactivation of the Chagas disease and the natural complications of both diseases. The role of the antiretroviral treatment on the co-infection cannot yet be defined by the knowledge currently existent.
Conclusions: Despite the relevance of this clinical event there are still gaps to be filled.