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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2002 Sep 1;31(1):56-62.

Treatment of intestinal worms is associated with decreased HIV plasma viral load.

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Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.



We have previously suggested that helminthic infections make the host more susceptible to HIV infection and enhance its progression due to the chronic immune activation they cause.


To study the effect of antihelminthic treatment on HIV plasma viral load (VL) in HIV- and helminth-infected individuals living in Ethiopia.


Fifty-six clinically asymptomatic HIV-1-infected individuals, 31 (55%) of whom were also infected with helminths, were studied. All participants received antihelminthic treatment at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. Worm egg excretion, HIV plasma VL, and T-cell subsets were determined at baseline and 6 months after treatment.


The mean age, number of CD4 T cells, and gender distribution were similar in the helminth-infected and -noninfected groups. At baseline, HIV plasma VL was strongly correlated to the number of eggs excreted (p <.001) and was higher in individuals infected with more than one helminth (5.28 +/- 0.35 versus 4.30 +/- 1.13 log RNA copies/mL, respectively; p =.16). After treatment of helminths, the 6-month change in HIV plasma VL was significantly different between the successfully treated group and the persistently helminth-positive group (p =.04)


Helminth "load" is correlated to HIV plasma VL, and successful deworming is associated with a significant decrease in HIV plasma VL. The results of the current study, if confirmed in a larger study, may have important implications for slowing disease progression and reducing risks of transmission.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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