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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013 Jun 1;63(2):189-94. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182926f95.

Prevalence and outcomes of cryptococcal antigenemia in HIV-seropositive patients hospitalized for suspected tuberculosis in Uganda.

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Makerere University-University of California, San Francisco Research Collaboration, Kampala, Uganda.



Cryptococcal infection occurs in HIV-seropositive patients and is associated with high mortality. However, limited information is available on the prevalence and outcomes of cryptococcal antigenemia among hospitalized HIV-seropositive patients in sub-Saharan Africa.


To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for cryptococcal antigenemia among HIV-seropositive patients presenting to Mulago Hospital (Kampala, Uganda) with unexplained cough ≥2 weeks and suspected tuberculosis (TB) and also to determine if antigenemia is associated with an increased mortality.


Between September 2009 and September 2010, we enrolled consecutive HIV-seropositive adults hospitalized at Mulago Hospital with cough ≥2 weeks and suspected TB. Banked serum was tested for cryptococcal antigen. We compared demographic and clinical characteristics, and 2-month mortality in patients with and without cryptococcal antigenemia.


Of 563 HIV-seropositive patients, 32 (5.7%) were cryptococcal antigen (CrAg) positive. None had Cryptococcus neoformans detected on fungal culture of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (n = 116). CrAg-positive patients had a lower median CD4 count compared with CrAg-negative patients (25 vs. 55 cells/μL, P = 0.02), and a substantial proportion of CrAg-positive patients also had concurrent TB (31%). A positive CrAg test was not associated with increased mortality during the 2-month follow-up period (hazard ratio: 0.99, 95% confidence interval: 0.63 to 1.54, P = 0.95) after adjusting for CD4 count and antiretroviral therapy use at enrollment and/or follow-up.


Occult cryptococcal antigenemia occurs commonly among hospitalized HIV-seropositive patients with suspected TB. CrAg testing should be considered in hospitalized HIV-seropositive patients with CD4 count <50 cells/μL, coupled with longer follow-up to evaluate the diagnostic value of CrAg and therapeutic interventions in patients with asymptomatic cryptococcal antigenemia.

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