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Am J Public Health. 2009 Jun;99(6):1116-22. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.151654. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

Risks of recreational exposure to waterborne pathogens among persons with HIV/AIDS in Baltimore, Maryland.

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  • 1Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.



We assessed the prevalence of recreational activities in the waterways of Baltimore, MD, and the risk of exposure to Cryptosporidium among persons with HIV/AIDS.


We studied patients at the Johns Hopkins Moore Outpatient AIDS Clinic. We conducted oral interviews with a convenience sample of 157 HIV/AIDS patients to ascertain the sites used for recreational water contact within Baltimore waters and assess risk behaviors.


Approximately 48% of respondents reported participating in recreational water activities (fishing, crabbing, boating, and swimming). Men and women were almost equally likely to engage in recreational water activities (53.3% versus 51.3%). Approximately 67% (105 of 157) ate their own catch or that of friends or family members, and a majority (61%, or 46 of 75) of respondents who reported recreational water contact reported consumption of their own catch.


Baltimoreans with HIV/AIDS are engaging in recreational water activities in urban waters that may expose them to waterborne pathogens and recreational water illnesses. Susceptible persons, such as patients with HIV/AIDS, should be cautioned regarding potential microbial risks from recreational water contact with surface waters.

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