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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 134  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 878-897

Parasitic infections in HIV infected individuals: Diagnostic & therapeutic challenges


1 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand

Correspondence Address:
Veeranoot Nissapatorn
Associate Professor, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.92633

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After 30 years of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) epidemic, parasites have been one of the most common opportunistic infections (OIs) and one of the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality associated with HIV-infected patients. Due to severe immunosuppression, enteric parasitic pathogens in general are emerging and are OIs capable of causing diarrhoeal disease associated with HIV. Of these, Cryptosporidium parvum and Isospora belli are the two most common intestinal protozoan parasites and pose a public health problem in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. These are the only two enteric protozoan parasites that remain in the case definition of AIDS till today. Leismaniasis, strongyloidiasis and toxoplasmosis are the three main opportunistic causes of systemic involvements reported in HIV-infected patients. Of these, toxoplasmosis is the most important parasitic infection associated with the central nervous system. Due to its complexity in nature, toxoplasmosis is the only parasitic disease capable of not only causing focal but also disseminated forms and it has been included in AIDS-defining illnesses (ADI) ever since. With the introduction of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART), cryptosporidiosis, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, strongyloidiasis, and toxoplasmosis are among parasitic diseases reported in association with immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS). This review addresses various aspects of parasitic infections in term of clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic challenges associated with HIV-infection.


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