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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1999 May 1;21(1):20-5.

Role of protease inhibitors in preventing recurrent oral candidosis in patients with HIV infection: a prospective case-control study.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Catholic University, Rome, Italy.


This study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in preventing recurrence of oral candidosis (OC) associated with HIV. A prospective case-controlled observational study was performed in an inner-city university-hospital HIV/AIDS clinic. Ninety-three HIV-positive study subjects with a history of recurrent OC were divided into two groups: protease inhibitors (PI)-treated patients (group 1, n = 30) and non-PI-treated patients (group 2, n = 63). Study subjects were matched for sex, age, stage of HIV infection, and peripheral CD4+ T-cell counts. The non-PI-treated group was further subdivided into the following three subgroups: HIV-positive study subjects treated with reverse transcriptase inhibitors (RTI; groups 2a and 2c) and HIV-positive study subjects not treated with RTIs (group 2b). Group 2c met the same inclusion criteria as group 2a had but was matched 6 months after the beginning of the study. We also assessed in vitro peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and their lymphoproliferative response, as well as cutaneous delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to Candida-associated antigens in a randomly selected sample of study subjects divided into those treated with PIs and those who were not. During a 1-year follow-up, OC was diagnosed in 2 (7%) PI-treated and 23 (36%) non-PI-treated patients (p<.001). In addition to comparing findings in group 1 with those in group 2c, OC was detected in 14 (50%) non-PI-treated patients compared with no HAART-treated study subjects (p<.001). Only 41% of PI-treated study subjects had positive lymphoproliferative response in PBMCs and none was positive in terms of DTH to Candida antigens (p = not significant versus non-PI-treated study subjects). While objectively demonstrating a beneficial effect of HAART in preventing recurrence of OC infections, our findings suggest this effect cannot be not fully accounted for by reconstitution of anti-Candida cell-mediated immunity, given that other mechanisms, even of a nonimmune nature, could have some effect.

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