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Indian J Med Res. 2005 Apr;121(4):407-14.

Diagnosis & management of leishmania/HIV co-infection.

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Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (ICMR), Agamkuan, Patna 800 007, India.


Leishmaniasis, a globally prevalent parasitic disease occurs in three forms viz., visceral, cutaneous and mucocutaneous, transmitted by the bite of infected female Phlebotomus sandflies. Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has 100 per cent fatality rate, if left untreated. India has the largest burden of this disease. HIV infection is also increasing worldwide and several reports indicate rising trend of VL/ HIV co-infection, modifying the traditional anthroponotic pattern of VL transmission. Both VL and HIV tend to lower the cell mediated immunity (CMI) resulting in poor drug response and opportunistic infections involving gastrointestinal, cutaneous, respiratory tract and central nervous system (CNS) may occur. Diagnosis of such co-infected cases is quite difficult. However, newer tests like nested PCR, rk39 immunochromatographic test etc., can be of help. Response to different antileishmanial drugs like sodium antimony gluconate (SAG), amphotericin B is far from satisfactory. However, a new oral drug miltefosine has been found to be promising. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) need to be given for management of HIV infection along with treatment of other opportunistic infections.

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