Sinusitis in human immunodeficiency virus infection: typical and atypical organisms

J Otolaryngol. 1994 Dec;23(6):450-3.


The majority of patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection will develop acute sinusitis. This may be a single episode, or may be the beginning of a long course of recurrent sinusitis, of which the etiology is not yet well understood. A retrospective study of cultures from antral washings was conducted to determine the organisms that were more commonly isolated in patients with HIV infection and sinusitis. Forty-seven organisms were isolated from the sinus cultures of 41 HIV-positive patients. The most common organisms isolated were Streptococcus pneumoniae (19%), Streptococcus viridans (19%), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (17%). Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an atypical cause of acute sinusitis in the general population but was found to be an important pathogen in our HIV-infected patients. Other atypical organisms were also isolated, including Listeria monocytogenes and Candida albicans. It is important to recognize that atypical organisms must be considered if an HIV-infected patient with sinusitis does not respond to initial antibiotic therapy. A discussion follows emphasizing the need for prompt diagnosis and treatment of sinusitis in HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • HIV Seropositivity / complications*
  • Humans
  • Listeria monocytogenes / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Paranasal Sinuses / microbiology*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sinusitis / complications*
  • Sinusitis / drug therapy
  • Sinusitis / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / isolation & purification*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents