The Women’s Interagency HIV Study was established in 1993 to study the natural history of HIV disease among women in the United States. It currently has enrolled 2,895 women testing positive for HIV infection and 972 women without HIV infection recruited from 6 national metropolitan locations. The clinical database information collected for each HIV-positive individual included CD4 cell counts, viral load, and antiviral treatment to evaluate HIV prognosis and related conditions in women.
To provide a baseline for fluconazole treatment prospects in women who test positive for HIV infection. As part of the ongoing Women’s Interagency HIV Study project, we investigated the fluconazole susceptibility of Candida spp. isolated from women with HIV in comparison to volunteer women without HIV. The implication of antifungal treatment on fluconazole susceptibility was evaluated by reviewing antifungal medication use for the past 2 years in each participant. In addition, genotyping of Candida spp. at oral and vaginal sites was monitored for 4 months in 9 patients.
In a cohort of 59 women with HIV and 24 women without HIV, colonization by Candida albicans and non-albicans species of the oral and vaginal sites was first determined. Fluconazole susceptibility was surveyed in vitro according to Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute protocol. Antifungal drug treatment history was investigated for each patient to correspond with fluconazole susceptibility. Finally, series of isolates from several patients were followed for resistance and susceptibility. Their lineage was verified by genotyping multilocus sequence typing (MLST).
A total of 280 Candida strains were recovered from oral and vaginal swabs of women with and without HIV infection. We found that patients with HIV were colonized with Candida spp. more frequently than women without HIV. The percent of isolates that were susceptibility dose dependent or resistant to fluconazole was higher in Candida glabrata compared with C. albicans isolates, but higher for C. albicans than other published data. Resistance was noted to be more common in vaginal sites. Fluconazole resistance in either species was not associated with relative CD4 cell counts or viral load. However an association with systemic application of fluconazole and resistance was noted.
Systemic antifungal therapy, including a vaginal topical regimen in women with HIV infection correlated with reduced fluconazole susceptibility of oral and vaginal isolates. Genotype profiling has disclosed that a majority of isolates from the same individual are clustered together, suggesting the likelihood of an original strain with some microevolution. We observed a change from a susceptibility dose dependent to a resistant phenotype of isolates in 2 women with HIV infection, even though no treatments were received during the 4-month study and the prior 2 years.