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Malaria and HIV coinfection in sub-Saharan Africa: prevalence, impact, and treatment strategies

Authors Kwenti TE

Received 14 April 2018

Accepted for publication 6 June 2018

Published 27 July 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 123—136

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RRTM.S154501

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Unnasch


Tebit E Kwenti1,2

1Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, 2Regional Hospital Buea, Buea, Cameroon

Abstract: Malaria and HIV, two of the world’s most deadly diseases, are widespread, but their distribution overlaps greatly in sub-Saharan Africa. Consequently, malaria and HIV coinfection (MHC) is common in the region. In this paper, pertinent publications on the prevalence, impact, and treatment strategies of MHC obtained by searching major electronic databases (PubMed, PubMed Central, Google Scholar, ScienceDirect, and Scopus) were reviewed, and it was found that the prevalence of MHC in SSA was 0.7%–47.5% overall. Prevalence was 0.7%–47.5% in nonpregnant adults, 1.2%–27.8% in children, and 0.94%–37% in pregnant women. MHC was associated with an increased frequency of clinical parasitemia and severe malaria, increased parasite and viral load, and impaired immunity to malaria in nonpregnant adults, children, and pregnant women, increased in placental malaria and related outcomes in pregnant women, and impaired antimalarial drug efficacy in nonpregnant adults and pregnant women. Although a few cases of adverse events have been reported in coinfected patients receiving antimalarial and antiretroviral drugs concurrently, available data are very limited and have not prompted major revision in treatment guidelines for both diseases. Artemisinin-based combination therapy and cotrimoxazole are currently the recommended drugs for treatment and prevention of malaria in HIV-infected children and adults. However, concurrent administration of cotrimoxazole and sulfadoxine–pyrimethamine in HIV-infected pregnant women is not recommended, because of high risk of sulfonamide toxicity. Further research is needed to enhance our understanding of the impact of malaria on HIV, drug–drug interactions in patients receiving antimalarials and antiretroviral drugs concomitantly, and the development of newer, safer, and more cost-effective drugs and vaccines to prevent malaria in HIV-infected pregnant women.

Keywords: malaria, HIV, coinfection, prevalence, treatment, sub-Saharan Africa

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