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Int J Epidemiol. 2001 Aug;30(4):864-71.

Incidence of primary opportunistic infections in two human immunodeficiency virus-infected French clinical cohorts.

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Service Universitaire des Maladies Infectieuses et du Voyageur, Centre Hospitalier de Tourcoing, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Lille, Tourcoing, France.



Clinical guidelines for the prevention of opportunistic infections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals have been developed on the basis of natural history data collected in the USA. The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence of primary opportunistic infections in HIV-infected individuals in geographically distinct cohorts in France.


We conducted our study on 2664 HIV-infected patients from the Tourcoing AIDS Reference Centre and the hospital-based information system of the Groupe d'Epidémiologie Clinique du SIDA en Aquitaine enrolled from January 1987 to September 1995 and followed through December 1995. We estimated: (1) CD4-adjusted incidence rates of seven primary opportunistic infections in the absence of prophylaxis for that specific infection or any antiretroviral drugs other than zidovudine; and (2) CD4 lymphocyte count decline.


The highest incidence rates for all opportunistic infections studied occurred in patients with CD4 counts < 200/microl. With CD4 counts < 50/microl, the most common opportunistic infections were toxoplasmic encephalitis (12.6 per 100 person-years) and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (11.4 per 100 person-years). Mycobacterium tuberculosis was the least common opportunistic infection (< 5.0/100 person-years). Even with CD4 counts > 300/microl, cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and toxoplasmic encephalitis were reported. The mean CD4 lymphocyte decline per month was 4.6 cells/microl. There was a significant association between HIV risk behaviour and the incidence of cytomegalovirus infection, between calendar year and the incidence of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, toxoplasmic encephalitis and Candida esophagitis, and between geographical area and the incidence of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and cytomegalovirus infection.


Geographical differences exist in the incidence of HIV-related opportunistic infections. These results can be used to define local priorities for prophylaxis of opportunistic infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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