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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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  • 1Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

OBJECTIVE:

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

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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)

CONCLUSIONS:

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.

PMID:
12352151
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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