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1.  Species-specific treatment effects of helminth/HIV-1 co-infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Parasitology  2011;138(12):1546-1558.
SUMMARY
In sub-Saharan Africa, over 22 million people are estimated to be co-infected with both helminths and HIV-1. Several studies have suggested that de-worming individuals with HIV-1 may delay HIV-1 disease progression, and that the benefit of de-worming may vary by individual helminth species. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the published literature to determine the effect of treatment of individual helminth infections on markers of HIV-1 progression (CD4 count and HIV viral load). There was a trend towards an association between treatment for Schistosoma mansoni and a decrease in HIV viral load (Weighted mean difference (WMD)=−0·10; 95% Confidence interval (CI): −0·24, 0·03), although this association was not seen for Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm or Trichuris trichiura. Treatment of A. lumbricoides, S. mansoni, hookworm or T. trichiura was not associated with a change in CD4 count. While pooled data from randomized trials suggested clinical benefit of de-worming for individual helminth species, these effects decreased when observational data were included in the pooled analysis. While further trials are needed to confirm the role of anthelmintic treatment in HIV-1 co-infected individuals, providing anthelmintics to individuals with HIV-1 may be a safe, inexpensive and practical intervention to slow progression of HIV-1.
doi:10.1017/S0031182011000357
PMCID: PMC3387276  PMID: 21729353
Helminth; HIV-1; co-infection; meta-analysis; Kenya
2.  Treatment of helminth co-infection in HIV-1 infected individuals in resource-limited settings 
Background
The HIV-1 pandemic has disproportionately affected individuals in resource-constrained settings. These areas often also have high prevalence of other infectious diseases, such as helminth infections. It is important to determine if helminth infection affects the progression of HIV-1 in these co-infected individuals. There are biologically plausible reasons for possible effects of helminth infection in HIV-1 infected individuals and findings from some observational studies suggest that helminth infection may adversely affect HIV-1 progression. We sought to evaluate the available evidence from published and unpublished studies to determine if treatment of helminth infection in HIV-1 co-infected individuals impacts HIV-1 progression.
Objectives
Our objective was to determine if treating helminth infection in individuals with HIV-1 can reduce the progression of HIV-1 as determined by changes in CD4 count, viral load, or clinical disease progression (including mortality).
Search strategy
We searched online for published and unpublished studies in The Cochrane Library (Issue 3, 2006), MEDLINE (November 2006), EMBASE (November 2006), CENTRAL (July 2006), AIDSEARCH (August 2006). We also searched databases listing conference abstracts, scanned reference lists of articles, and contacted authors of included studies.
Selection criteria
We searched for randomized and quasi-randomized controlled trials that compared HIV-1 progression as measured by changes in CD4 count, viral load, or clinical disease progression in HIV-1 infected individuals receiving anti-helminth therapy. Observational studies with relevant data were also included.
Data collection and analysis
Data regarding changes in CD4 count, HIV-1 RNA levels, clinical staging and/or mortality after treatment of helminth co-infection were extracted from the reports of the studies.
Main results
Of 6,384 abstracts identified, 15 met criteria for potential inclusion, of which five were eligible for inclusion. In the single randomized controlled trial (RCT) identified, HIV-1 and schistosomiasis co-infected individuals receiving treatment for schistosomiasis had a significantly lower change in plasma HIV-1 RNA over three months (−0.001 log10 copies/mL) compared to those receiving no treatment (+0.21 log10 copies/mL), (p=0.03). Four observational studies met inclusion criteria and all of these suggested a possible beneficial effect of helminth eradication on plasma HIV-1 RNA levels when compared to plasma HIV-1 RNA changes prior to helminth treatment or to helminth-uninfected or persistently helminth-infected individuals. Follow-up duration in these studies ranged from three to six months. The reported magnitude of effect on HIV-1 RNA was variable, ranging from 0.07–1.05 log10 copies/mL. None of the included studies showed a significant benefit of helminth treatment on CD4 decline, clinical staging, or mortality.
Authors' conclusions
There are insufficient data available to determine the potential benefit of helminth eradication in HIV-1 and helminth co-infected adults. Data from a single RCT and multiple observational studies suggest possible benefit in reducing plasma viral load. The impact of de-worming on markers of HIV-1 progression should be addressed in larger randomized studies evaluating species-specific effects and with a sufficient duration of follow-up to document potential differences on clinical outcomes and CD4 decline.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006419.pub2
PMCID: PMC3372409  PMID: 18254104
CD4 Lymphocyte Count; Disease Progression; *Health Resources; Helminthiasis [complications; *drug therapy]; *HIV-1 [genetics]; HIV Infections [*complications;parasitology;virology]; Poverty Areas; RNA, Viral [analysis]; Schistosomiasis [drug therapy]; Viral Load; Humans
3.  Deworming helminth co-infected individuals for delaying HIV disease progression 
Background
The HIV-1 pandemic has disproportionately affected individuals in resource-constrained settings where other infectious diseases, such as helminth infections, also are highly prevalent. There are biologically plausible reasons for possible effects of helminth infection in HIV-1-infected individuals, and findings from multiple studies suggest that helminth infection may adversely affect HIV-1 progression. Since initial publication of this review (Walson 2007), additional data from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) has become available. We sought to evaluate all currently available evidence to determine if treatment of helminth infection in HIV-1 co-infected individuals impacts HIV-1 progression.
Objectives
To determine if treating helminth infection in individuals with HIV-1 can reduce the progression of HIV-1 as determined by changes in CD4 count, viral load, or clinical disease progression.
Search strategy
In this 2008 update, we searched online for published and unpublished studies in The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and AIDSEARCH. We also searched databases listing conference abstracts, scanned reference lists of articles, and contacted authors of included studies.
Selection criteria
We searched for RCTs and quasi-RCTs that compared HIV-1 progression as measured by changes in CD4 count, viral load, or clinical disease progression in HIV-1 infected individuals receiving anti-helminthic therapy.
Data collection and analysis
Data regarding changes in CD4 count, HIV-1 RNA levels, and/or clinical staging after treatment of helminth co-infection were extracted from identified studies.
Main results
Of 7,019 abstracts identified (6,384 from original searches plus 635 from updated searches), 17 abstracts were identified as meeting criteria for potential inclusion (15 from previous review plus an additional two RCTs). After restricting inclusion to RCTs, a total of three studies were eligible for inclusion in this updated review.
All three trials showed individual beneficial effects of helminth eradication on markers of HIV-1 disease progression (HIV-1 RNA and/or CD4 counts). When data from these trials were pooled, the analysis demonstrated significant benefit of deworming on both plasma HIV-1 RNA and CD4 counts.
Authors’ conclusions
To date, three RCTs have evaluated the effects of deworming on markers of HIV-1 disease progression in helminth and HIV-1 co-infected individuals. All trials demonstrate benefit in attenuating or reducing plasma viral load and/or increasing CD4 counts. When taken together, there is evidence of benefit for deworming HIV-1 co-infected adults. Given that these studies evaluated different helminth species and different interventions, further trials are warranted to evaluate species-specific effects and to document long-term clinical outcomes following deworming.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006419.pub3
PMCID: PMC2871762  PMID: 19588389
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH); *Health Resources; *HIV-1 [genetics]; CD4 Lymphocyte Count; Disease Progression; Helminthiasis [complications; *drug therapy]; HIV Infections [*complications; parasitology; virology]; Poverty Areas; RNA; Viral [analysis]; Schistosomiasis [drug therapy]; Viral Load; MeSH check words; Humans
4.  Impact of Helminth Diagnostic Test Performance on Estimation of Risk Factors and Outcomes in HIV-Positive Adults 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81915.
Background
Traditional methods using microscopy for the detection of helminth infections have limited sensitivity. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays enhance detection of helminths, particularly low burden infections. However, differences in test performance may modify the ability to detect associations between helminth infection, risk factors, and sequelae. We compared these associations using microscopy and PCR.
Methods
This cross-sectional study was nested within a randomized clinical trial conducted at 3 sites in Kenya. We performed microscopy and real-time multiplex PCR for the stool detection and quantification of Ascaris lumbricoides, Necator americanus, Ancylostoma duodenale, Strongyloides stercoralis, and Schistosoma species. We utilized regression to evaluate associations between potential risk factors or outcomes and infection as detected by either method.
Results
Of 153 HIV-positive adults surveyed, 55(36.0%) and 20(13.1%) were positive for one or more helminth species by PCR and microscopy, respectively (p<0.001). PCR-detected infections were associated with farming (Prevalence Ratio 1.57, 95% CI: 1.02, 2.40), communal water source (PR 3.80, 95% CI: 1.01, 14.27), and no primary education (PR 1.54, 95% CI: 1.14, 2.33), whereas microscopy-detected infections were not associated with any risk factors under investigation. Microscopy-detected infections were associated with significantly lower hematocrit and hemoglobin (means of -3.56% and -0.77 g/dl) and a 48% higher risk of anemia (PR 1.48, 95% CI: 1.17, 1.88) compared to uninfected. Such associations were absent for PCR-detected infections unless infection intensity was considered, Infections diagnosed with either method were associated with increased risk of eosinophilia (PCR PR 2.42, 95% CI: 1.02, 5.76; microscopy PR 2.92, 95% CI: 1.29, 6.60).
Conclusion
Newer diagnostic methods, including PCR, improve the detection of helminth infections. This heightened sensitivity may improve the identification of risk factors for infection while reducing ability to discriminate infections associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Quantitative assays can be used to differentiate infection loads and discriminate infections associated with sequelae.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081915
PMCID: PMC3852669  PMID: 24324729
5.  Systematic Review of the Performance of Rapid Rifampicin Resistance Testing for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76533.
Introduction
Rapid tests for rifampicin resistance may be useful for identifying isolates at high risk of drug resistance, including multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB). However, choice of diagnostic test and prevalence of rifampicin resistance may both impact a diagnostic strategy for identifying drug resistant-TB. We performed a systematic review to evaluate the performance of WHO-endorsed rapid tests for rifampicin resistance detection.
Methods
We searched MEDLINE, Embase and the Cochrane Library through January 1, 2012. For each rapid test, we determined pooled sensitivity and specificity estimates using a hierarchical random effects model. Predictive values of the tests were determined at different prevalence rates of rifampicin resistance and MDR-TB.
Results
We identified 60 publications involving six different tests (INNO-LiPA Rif. TB assay, Genotype MTBDR assay, Genotype MTBDRplus assay, Colorimetric Redox Indicator (CRI) assay, Nitrate Reductase Assay (NRA) and MODS tests): for all tests, negative predictive values were high when rifampicin resistance prevalence was ≤ 30%. However, positive predictive values were considerably reduced for the INNO-LiPA Rif. TB assay, the MTBDRplus assay and MODS when rifampicin resistance prevalence was < 5%.
Limitations
In many studies, it was unclear whether patient selection or index test performance could have introduced bias. In addition, we were unable to evaluate critical concentration thresholds for the colorimetric tests.
Discussion
Rapid tests for rifampicin resistance alone cannot accurately predict rifampicin resistance or MDR-TB in areas with a low prevalence of rifampicin resistance. However, in areas with a high prevalence of rifampicin resistance and MDR-TB, these tests may be a valuable component of an MDR-TB management strategy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076533
PMCID: PMC3789679  PMID: 24098523
6.  Humoral immune responses to Plasmodium falciparum among HIV-1-infected Kenyan adults 
Proteomics. Clinical applications  2011;5(11-12):613-623.
Introduction
Humoral immune responses play a pivotal role in naturally acquired immunity to malaria. Understanding which humoral responses are impaired among individuals at higher risk for malaria may improve our understanding of malaria immune control and contribute to vaccine development.
Methods
We compared humoral responses with 483 Plasmodium falciparum antigens between adults in, Kisumu (high, year-long malaria transmission leading to partial immunity), and adults in Kisii (low, seasonal malaria transmission). Then within each site, we compared malaria-specific humoral responses between those at higher risk for malaria (CD4+ ≤ 500) and those at lower risk for malaria (CD4+>500). A protein microarray chip containing 483 P. falciparum antigens and 71 HIV antigens was used. Benjamini–Hochberg adjustments were made to control for multiple comparisons.
Results
Fifty-seven antigens including CSP, MSP1, LSA1 and AMA1 were identified as significantly more reactive in Kisumu than in Kisii. Ten of these antigens had been identified as protective in an earlier study. CD4+ T-cell count did not significantly impact humoral responses.
Conclusion
Protein microarrays are a useful method to screen multiple humoral responses simultaneously. This study provides useful clues for potential vaccine candidates. Modest decreases in CD4 counts may not significantly impact malaria-specific humoral immunity.
doi:10.1002/prca.201100021
PMCID: PMC3406934  PMID: 21956928
HIV-1; Humoral Immunity; Malaria; Vaccine
8.  Morbidity Among HIV-1–Infected Mothers in Kenya 
Background
Much of the burden of morbidity affecting women of childbearing age in sub-Saharan Africa occurs in the context of HIV-1 infection. Understanding patterns of illness and determinants of disease in HIV-1–infected mothers may guide effective interventions to improve maternal health in this setting.
Methods
We describe the incidence and cofactors of comorbidities affecting peripartum and postpartum HIV-1–infected women in Kenya. Women were evaluated by clinical examination and standardized questionnaires during pregnancy and for up to 2 years after delivery.
Results
Five hundred thirty-five women were enrolled in the cohort (median CD4 count of 433 cells/mm3) and accrued 7736 person-months of follow-up. During 1-year follow-up, the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections was 161 per 100 person-years, incidence of pneumonia was 33 per 100 person-years, incidence of tuberculosis (TB) was 11 per 100 person-years, and incidence of diarrhea was 63 per 100 person-years. Immunosuppression and HIV-1 RNA levels were predictive for pneumonia, oral thrush, and TB but not for diarrhea; CD4 counts <200 cells/mm3 were associated with pneumonia (relative risk [RR] = 2.87, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.71 to 4.83), TB (RR = 7.14, 95% CI: 2.93 to 17.40) and thrush. The risk of diarrhea was significantly associated with crowding (RR = 1.86, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.92) and breast-feeding (RR = 1.71, 95% CI: 1.19 to 2.44). Less than 10% of women reported hospitalization during 2-year follow-up; mortality risk in the cohort was 1.9% and 4.8% for 1 and 2 years, respectively.
Conclusions
Mothers with HIV-1, although generally healthy, have substantial morbidity as a result of common infections, some of which are predicted by immune status or by socioeconomic factors. Enhanced attention to maternal health is increasingly important as HIV-1–infected mothers transition from programs targeting the prevention of mother-to-child transmission to HIV care clinics.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318141fcc0
PMCID: PMC3372412  PMID: 17667334
HIV/AIDS; HIV-1 progression; maternal health; morbidity; postpartum; pregnancy; prevention of mother-to-child transmission; women
9.  Changes in Plasma Cytokines Following Treatment of Ascaris lumbricoides in HIV-1 Infected Individuals 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2010;201(12):1816-1821.
Albendazole treatment of HIV-1/Ascaris lumbricoides co-infected individuals led to significantly improved CD4 cell counts and a trend for lower plasma HIV-1 RNA levels in a previous randomized placebo-controlled trial. To define mechanisms by which deworming contributed to changes in markers of HIV-1 disease progression, plasma cytokine levels were evaluated. Albendazole treatment was associated with significantly decreased plasma IL-10 levels when compared to placebo (P = 0.04), but not with significant changes in levels of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-12p70, IL-13, IFN-γ, TNF-α, or TSLP. Treatment of A. lumbricoides co-infection may delay HIV-1 disease progression by reducing helminth-induced, IL-10-mediated immunosuppression.
doi:10.1086/652784
PMCID: PMC2946624  PMID: 20441516
HIV-1; Ascaris lumbricoides; helminth; co-infection; CD4 T cell count; IL-10; cytokines; albendazole
10.  Assessment of the low cost Cavidi ExaVir™ Load assay for monitoring HIV viral load in pediatric and adult patients 
Background
Viral load (VL) is a critical marker for monitoring HIV disease progression and response to antiretroviral therapy. In resource-constrained settings, there is a need for a simple and inexpensive assay to monitor infected adults and children.
Methods
We compared versions 2 and 3 of the ExaVir™ Load assay, Cavidi AB (HIV RT) with the Roche, COBAS® Amplicor® HIV-1 Monitor assay (HIV RNA) for quantifying HIV VL.
Results
The HIV RT version 2 assay showed good sensitivity with detection in 94% of samples with HIV RNA >1000 copies/ml. Adult samples were tested using HIV RT version 2 (n=35) and version 3 (n=23) assays with plasma volumes of 1ml (recommended), 0.5ml and 0.25ml in comparison with HIV RNA. The HIV RT and HIV RNA assay results were comparable when tested using different volumes. Comparison of results from pediatric samples (n=27), tested using 1ml and a smaller volume by HIV RT version 2 were not significantly different.
Conclusion
The HIV RT assay was comparable to the HIV RNA assay with sensitivity approaching that of RT-PCR. Smaller volumes than the recommended 1ml can be used, improving utility of this assay for pediatric monitoring.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181b05f62
PMCID: PMC2784031  PMID: 19617845
Monitoring HIV infection; HIV reverse transcriptase; viral load; resource constrained countries; pediatric testing
12.  Prevalence and Correlates of Helminth Co-infection in Kenyan HIV-1 Infected Adults 
Background
Deworming HIV-1 infected individuals may delay HIV-1 disease progression. It is important to determine the prevalence and correlates of HIV-1/helminth co-infection in helminth-endemic areas.
Methods
HIV-1 infected individuals (CD4>250 cells/ul) were screened for helminth infection at ten sites in Kenya. Prevalence and correlates of helminth infection were determined. A subset of individuals with soil-transmitted helminth infection was re-evaluated 12 weeks following albendazole therapy.
Results
Of 1,541 HIV-1 seropositive individuals screened, 298 (19.3%) had detectable helminth infections. Among individuals with helminth infection, hookworm species were the most prevalent (56.3%), followed by Ascaris lumbricoides (17.1%), Trichuris trichiura (8.7%), Schistosoma mansoni (7.1%), and Stongyloides stercoralis (1.3%). Infection with multiple species occurred in 9.4% of infections. After CD4 count was controlled for, rural residence (RR 1.40, 95% CI: 1.08–1.81), having no education (RR 1.57, 95% CI: 1.07–2.30), and higher CD4 count (RR 1.36, 95% CI: 1.07–1.73) remained independently associated with risk of helminth infection. Twelve weeks following treatment with albendazole, 32% of helminth-infected individuals had detectable helminths on examination. Residence, education, and CD4 count were not associated with persistent helminth infection.
Conclusions
Among HIV-1 seropositive adults with CD4 counts above 250 cells/mm3 in Kenya, traditional risk factors for helminth infection, including rural residence and lack of education, were associated with co-infection, while lower CD4 counts were not.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00130910
Author Summary
Over one-third of people worldwide are currently infected with parasitic worms. The majority of these infections occur in sub-Saharan Africa, where over half of the population may be infected with at least one type of parasitic worm. HIV infection is also common in many of these countries, and there is significant geographic overlap in the presence of HIV and worm infection. Several studies have suggested that treatment of worm infections in people with HIV may delay the progression of HIV disease. Treatment has been shown to both decrease levels of the HIV virus in the blood of people with HIV and to increase the number of immune cells (CD4 cells) targeted by HIV. It is important to determine which populations of HIV-infected individuals are at greatest risk of worm infection in order to develop potential interventions for the treatment and prevention of worm infection in HIV-infected individuals. We report findings from a large study examining the prevalence and associated co-factors for worm infection among individuals at ten sites in Kenya.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000644
PMCID: PMC2846937  PMID: 20361031
13.  Albendazole treatment of HIV-1 and helminth co-infection: A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial 
AIDS (London, England)  2008;22(13):1601-1609.
OBJECTIVE
Several co-infections have been shown to impact the progression of HIV-1 infection. We sought to determine if treatment of helminth co-infection in HIV-1 infected adults impacted markers of HIV-1 disease progression.
DESIGN
To date there have been no randomized trials to examine the effects of soil-transmitted helminth eradication on markers of HIV-1 progression.
METHODS
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of albendazole (400mg daily for three days) in antiretroviral-naïve HIV-1 infected adults (CD4 >200 cells/mm3) with soil-transmitted helminth infection was conducted at ten sites in Kenya (Clinical Trials.gov NCT00130910). CD4 and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels at 12 weeks following randomization were compared in the trial arms using linear regression, adjusting for baseline values.
RESULTS
Of 1,551 HIV-1 infected individuals screened for helminth-infection, 299 were helminth-infected. 234 adults were enrolled and underwent randomization and 208 individuals were included in intent-to-treat analyses. Mean CD4 count was 557 cells/mm3 and mean plasma viral load was 4.75 log10 copies/mL at enrolment. Albendazole therapy resulted in significantly higher CD4 counts among individuals with Ascaris lumbricoides infection after 12 weeks of follow up (+109 cells/mm3; 95% CI +38.9 to +179.0, p=0.003) and a trend for 0.54 log10 lower HIV-1 RNA levels (p=0.09). These effects were not seen with treatment of other species of soil-transmitted helminths.
CONCLUSIONS
Treatment of A. lumbricoides with albendazole in HIV-1 co-infected adults resulted in significantly increased CD4 counts during 3-month follow-up. Given the high prevalence of A. lumbricoides infection worldwide, deworming may be an important potential strategy to delay HIV-1 progression.
doi:10.1097/QAD.0b013e32830a502e
PMCID: PMC2637615  PMID: 18670219
HIV-1 progression; helminth; co-infection
16.  Treatment of Helminth Co-Infection in Individuals with HIV-1: A Systematic Review of the Literature 
Background and Objectives
The HIV-1 pandemic has disproportionately affected individuals in resource-constrained settings. It is important to determine if other prevalent infections affect the progression of HIV-1 in co-infected individuals in these settings. Some observational studies suggest that helminth infection may adversely affect HIV-1 progression. We sought to evaluate existing evidence on whether treatment of helminth infection impacts HIV-1 progression.
Review Methods
This review was conducted using the HIV/AIDS Cochrane Review Group (CRG) search strategy and guidelines. Published and unpublished studies were obtained from The Cochrane Library (Issue 3, 2006), MEDLINE (November 2006), EMBASE (November 2006), CENTRAL (July 2006), and AIDSEARCH (August 2006). Databases listing conference abstracts and scanned reference lists were searched, and authors of included studies were contacted. Data regarding changes in CD4 count, HIV-1 RNA levels, clinical staging and/or mortality were extracted and compared between helminth-treated and helminth-untreated or helminth-uninfected individuals.
Results
Of 6,384 abstracts identified, 15 met criteria for potential inclusion, of which 5 were eligible for inclusion. In the single randomized controlled trial (RCT) identified, HIV-1 and schistosomiasis co-infected individuals receiving treatment for schistosomiasis had a significantly lower change in plasma HIV-1 RNA over three months (−0.001 log10 copies/mL) compared to those receiving no treatment (+0.21 log10 copies/mL), (p = 0.03). Four observational studies met inclusion criteria, and all of these suggested a possible beneficial effect of helminth eradication on plasma HIV-1 RNA levels when compared to plasma HIV-1 RNA changes prior to helminth treatment or to helminth-uninfected or persistently helminth-infected individuals. The follow-up duration in these studies ranged from three to six months. The reported magnitude of effect on HIV-1 RNA was variable, ranging from 0.07–1.05 log10 copies/mL. None of the included studies showed a significant benefit of helminth treatment on CD4 decline, clinical staging, or mortality.
Conclusion
There are insufficient data available to determine the potential benefit of helminth eradication in HIV-1 and helminth co-infected adults. Data from a single RCT and multiple observational studies suggest possible benefit in reducing plasma viral load. The impact of de-worming on markers of HIV-1 progression should be addressed in larger randomized studies evaluating species-specific effects and with a sufficient duration of follow-up to document potential differences on clinical outcomes and CD4 decline.
Author Summary
Many people living in areas of the world most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic are also exposed to other common infections. Parasitic infections with helminths (intestinal worms) are common in Africa and affect over half of the population in some areas. There are plausible biological reasons why treating helminth infections in people with HIV may slow down the progression of HIV to AIDS. Thus, treating people with HIV for helminths in areas with a high prevalence of both HIV and helminth infections may be a feasible strategy to help people with HIV delay progression of their disease or initiation of antiretroviral therapy. After a comprehensive review of the available literature, we conclude that there is not enough evidence to determine whether treating helminth infections in people with HIV is beneficial.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000102
PMCID: PMC2154389  PMID: 18160978
21.  Editorial 
doi:10.1016/S0011-393X(05)00031-7
PMCID: PMC3964539
22.  Editorial 
doi:10.1016/S0011-393X(05)00035-4
PMCID: PMC3964582
23.  Cerebral Toxoplasmosis Mimicking Subacute Meningitis in HIV-Infected Patients; a Cohort Study from Indonesia 
Background
HIV-associated subacute meningitis is mostly caused by tuberculosis or cryptococcosis, but often no etiology can be established. In the absence of CT or MRI of the brain, toxoplasmosis is generally not considered as part of the differential diagnosis.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We performed cerebrospinal fluid real time PCR and serological testing for Toxoplasma gondii in archived samples from a well-characterized cohort of 64 HIV-infected patients presenting with subacute meningitis in a referral hospital in Indonesia. Neuroradiology was only available for 6 patients.
At time of presentation, patients mostly had newly diagnosed and advanced HIV infection (median CD4 count 22 cells/mL), with only 17.2% taking ART, and 9.4% PJP-prophylaxis. CSF PCR for T. Gondii was positive in 21 patients (32.8%). Circulating toxoplasma IgG was present in 77.2% of patients tested, including all in whom the PCR of CSF was positive for T. Gondii. Clinically, in the absence of neuroradiology, toxoplasmosis was difficult to distinguish from tuberculosis or cryptococcal meningitis, although CSF abnormalities were less pronounced. Mortality among patients with a positive CSF T. Gondii PCR was 81%, 2.16-fold higher (95% CI 1.04–4.47) compared to those with a negative PCR.
Conclusions/Significance
Toxoplasmosis should be considered in HIV-infected patients with clinically suspected subacute meningitis in settings where neuroradiology is not available.
Author Summary
If HIV-infected patients present with seizures, focal neurological symptoms or confusion, a CT-scan or MRI of the brain is normally made. If mass lesions are found (and the CD4 cell count is sufficiently low), cerebral toxoplasmosis is suspected, and often treated empirically. However, some of the symptoms of cerebral toxoplasmosis may mimic those of subacute meningitis. Therefore, in settings where no cerebral imaging can be performed, HIV-associated cerebral toxoplasmosis may be under-diagnosed. We retrospectively looked for toxoplasmosis in a cohort of HIV-infected patients presenting with subacute meningitis in an Indonesian hospital, where neuroradiology was not available for most patients. Patients mostly came with newly diagnosed and advanced HIV infection and few were on HIV-treatment or PJP-prophylaxis. Molecular testing of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was positive for Toxoplasma gondii in 32% of patients, serology was positive in 78%. Clinically, in the absence of neuroradiology, toxoplasmosis was difficult to distinguish from tuberculosis or cryptococcal meningitis. A positive CSF T. gondii PCR was associated with a two-fold increased mortality. We conclude that toxoplasmosis should be considered in HIV-infected patients with clinically suspected subacute meningitis in settings where neuroradiology is not available.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001994
PMCID: PMC3542116  PMID: 23326616
24.  Use of Anti-Retroviral Therapy in Tuberculosis Patients on Second-Line Anti-TB Regimens: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e47370.
Introduction
Use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) during treatment of drug susceptible tuberculosis (TB) improves survival. However, data from HIV infected individuals with drug resistant TB are lacking. Second line TB drugs when combined with ART may increase drug interactions and lead to higher rates of toxicity and greater noncompliance. This systematic review sought to determine the benefit of ART in the setting of second line drug therapy for drug resistant TB.
Methods
We included individual patient data from studies that evaluated treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis in HIV-1 infected individuals published between January 1980 and December of 2009. We evaluated the effect of ART on treatment outcomes, time to smear and culture conversion, and adverse events.
Results
Ten observational studies, including data from 217 subjects, were analyzed. Patients using ART during TB treatment had increased likelihood of cure (hazard ratio (HR) 3.4, 95% CI 1.6–7.4) and decreased likelihood of death (HR 0.4, 95% CI 0.3–0.6) during treatment for drug resistant TB. These associations remained significant in patients with a CD4 less than 200 cells/mm3 and less than 50 cells/mm3, and when correcting for drug resistance pattern.
Limitations
We identified only observational studies from which individual patient data could be drawn. Limitations in study design, and heterogeneity in a number of the outcomes of interest had the potential to introduce bias.
Discussion
While there are insufficient data to determine if ART use increases adverse drug interactions when used with second line TB drugs, ART use during treatment of drug resistant TB appears to improve cure rates and decrease risk of death. All individuals with HIV appear to benefit from ART use during treatment for TB.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0047370
PMCID: PMC3489892  PMID: 23144818
25.  Performance and Safety of Praziquantel for Treatment of Intestinal Schistosomiasis in Infants and Preschool Children 
Background
In 2012 the WHO formally recognised that infants and preschool children are at significant risk of schistosomiasis and qualify for treatment with praziquantel (PZQ). Targeted surveys determining both the performance and safety of this drug are now needed in endemic areas. We have formally assessed parasitological cure and putative side-effects in a prospective cohort of Schistosoma mansoni-infected children (aged 5 months–7 years old) in lakeshore settings of Uganda.
Methodology/Principal Findings
From a total of 369 children found to be egg-patent for intestinal schistosomiasis, 305 were followed-up three to four weeks after PZQ treatment and infection status re-assessed. Separately, a previously tested side-effect questionnaire was employed before and 24 hours after PZQ treatment to assess incidence and amelioration of symptoms in young children and their mothers. While the overall observed parasitological cure was 56.4%, a significant difference was found between a sub-set of children who had a history of multiple PZQ treatments (between one and four in an 18 month period), where cure rate was 41.7%, and those who had never received treatment (cure rate was 77·6%). PZQ proved to be safe, with only mild reported side effects which cleared within a month after treatment. Prevalence of reported symptoms was significantly lower in children than in mothers, and fewer side-effects were reported upon subsequent rounds of PZQ treatment.
Conclusion/Significance
Our findings show that PZQ treatment of young children resulted in satisfactory cure rates, and marked reduction in egg-output, with only mild and transient reported side-effects. However, the cure rate is clearly lower in younger children and those with history of previous treatment. Cure rate, but not egg reduction rate, was also lower in children with heavier pre-intervention infection intensity. With chemotherapy now recommended as a long-term strategy for disease control in young children, research into optimising the periodicity of targeted treatment strategies is now crucial.
Author Summary
Although there is now extensive evidence for infection in preschool-aged children, and even a change in WHO guidelines endorsing treatment of this young age class in endemic areas, very little work has been published on the performance of praziquantel in children below the age of six. Previous work on praziquantel performance in preschool aged children focused on Schistosoma haematobium infections (urogenital schistosomiasis), with few observational studies published for S. mansoni infections (intestinal schistosomiasis). With a formalised protocol, we show that delivery of praziquantel to preschool-aged children living in endemic areas is safe and efficacious. However, this work has also shed light on dynamics never previously explored. History of previous treatment and age below three years proved to be determining factors for the outcome of treatment. This work provides firm evidence that in an endemic population certain young individuals were simply not cured (no egg or antigen cessation) after standard doses of praziquantel. This potential for non-cure should not go overlooked since exposure to drug without cure (either due to parasite or human factors) can lead to emergence and spread of resistance to praziquantel. Bearing in mind that praziquantel is the only commercially available drug against schistosomiasis, we recommend further research to understand these dynamics.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001864
PMCID: PMC3475660  PMID: 23094120

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