Visceral Leishmaniasis as an AIDS Defining Condition: Towards Consistency across WHO Guidelines

Introduction: Given the detrimental interaction between both pathogens, visceral leishmaniasis (VL)–HIV co-infection has been identified as one of the emerging challenges for VL control [1]. The epidemiological impact of HIV on VL was most strikingly illustrated by the effect of the HIV epidemic in VL-endemic countries in southern Europe, with HIV contributing to the re-emergence of VL. By early 2000, almost 2,000 cases of VL–HIV co-infection (predominantly in intravenous drug users) had been identified, with up to 50%–60% of all VL cases being HIV co-infected [2]. Fortunately, with the wide-scale introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART), a gradual decline in VL incidence has been observed in Europe over the last decade [1,3]. Currently, the burden of VL–HIV co-infection is most apparent in some regions in East Africa, like Northwest Ethiopia, where between 20%–40% of VL cases are co-infected with HIV [1]. The problem also seems to be emerging in India and Brazil [1].

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Authors: Johan van Griensven, Koert Ritmeijer, Lutgarde Lynen, Ermias Diro.

Journal: PLOS - Public Library of Science

Keywords: Kala azar, HIV/AIDS