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Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Antiretroviral Therapy and Markers of Lymphatic Filariasis Infection: A Cross-sectional Study in Rural Northern Malawi

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Tafatatha, Terence, Taegtmeyer, Miriam ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5377-2536, Ngwira, Bagrey, Phiri, Amos, Kondowe, Mariot, Piston, Wilson, Molesworth, Anna, Kayuni, Ndoliwe, Koole, Olivier, Crampin, Amelia, Horton, John and French, Neil (2015) 'Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Antiretroviral Therapy and Markers of Lymphatic Filariasis Infection: A Cross-sectional Study in Rural Northern Malawi'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol 9, Issue 6, e0003825.

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Abstract

Background
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are major public health problems. Individuals may be co-infected, raising the possibility of important interactions between these two pathogens with consequences for LF elimination through annual mass drug administration (MDA).

Methodology and Principal Findings
We analysed circulating filarial antigenaemia (CFA) by HIV infection status among adults in two sites in northern Malawi, a region endemic for both LF and HIV. Stored blood samples and data from two geographically separate studies were used: one a recruitment phase of a clinical trial of anti-filarial agent dosing regimens, and the other a whole population annual HIV sero-survey. In study one, 1,851 consecutive adult volunteers were screened for HIV and LF infection. CFA prevalence was 25.4% (43/169) in HIV-positive and 23.6% (351/1487) in HIV-negative participants (p=0.57). Geometric mean CFA concentrations were 859 and 1660 antigen units per ml of blood (Ag/ml) respectively, geometric mean ratio (GMR) 0.85, 95%CI 0.49-1.50. In 7,863 adults in study two, CFA prevalence was 20.9% (86/411) in HIV-positive and 24.0% (1789/7452) in HIV–negative participants (p=0.15). Geometric mean CFA concentrations were 630 and 839 Ag/ml respectively (GMR 0.75, 95%CI 0.60-0.94). In the HIV-positive group, antiretroviral therapy (ART) use was associated with a lower CFA prevalence, 12.7% (18/142) vs. 25.3% (67/265), (OR 0.43, 95%CI 0.24-0.76). Prevalence of CFA decreased with duration of ART use, 15.2% 0-1 year (n=59), 13.6% >1-2 years (n=44), 10.0% >2-3 years (n=30) and 0% >3-4 years treatment (n=9), p<0.01 χ2 for linear trend.

Conclusions/Significance
In this large cross-sectional study of two distinct LF-exposed populations, there is no evidence that HIV infection has an impact on LF epidemiology that will interfere with LF control measures. A significant association of ART use with lower CFA prevalence merits further investigation to understand this apparent beneficial impact of ART.

Author Summary
Lymphatic filariasis (LF) and HIV are both major public health problems worldwide and where they co-exist have the potential to interact. The main strategy for LF elimination is annual mass drug administration (MDA). A particular concern is whether HIV, through its impact on the immune system, will interfere with the effectiveness of this approach to control and eliminate LF. We report findings from cross-sectional studies in two separate populations in northern Malawi where both HIV and LF are common. One group (1,851 individuals) were studied at enrolment into a trial of anti-LF treatments, whilst the other study used samples stored from adult participants in a whole population HIV survey (7,863 individuals). Between 5–10% of the study participants were HIV-positive and 24% were LF-infected. We found no evidence that LF infection was more or less common in HIV-positive adults in either population. However, we identified robust evidence that antiretroviral therapy use was associated with lower LF prevalence rates. We have no evidence to suggest HIV will have a detrimental effect on LF control. On the contrary, the evidence suggests that antiretroviral therapy may have beneficial effects and merits further careful evaluation of the anti-filarial properties of these compounds.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503 Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. HIV infections
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503.2 Therapy
WC Communicable Diseases > Virus Diseases > Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. HIV Infections > WC 503.5 Complications
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 880 Filariasis and related conditions (General)
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003825
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2016 09:34
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2019 10:51
URI: https://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/5561

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