High frequency of subclinical Leishmania infection among HIV-infected patients living in the endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis in Fars province, southern Iran.Parasitol Res. 2018 Aug; 117(8):2591-2595.PR
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a major health concern in patients with HIV infection in endemic areas of VL. In these areas, a substantial number of infected individuals are asymptomatic and the risk of acute VL infection in HIV/VL co-infected cases is high. The current study aimed to determine the prevalence of asymptomatic VL infection among HIV-infected patients in Fars province, southern Iran. Subjects of the study were 251 HIV-confirmed patients who all were clinically asymptomatic for leishmaniasis. Blood samples were obtained from each participant. Anti-Leishmania antibodies were detected in the sera using ELISA. DNA was extracted from the buffy coat of each subject and PCR amplified, targeting an ITS-2 gene of Leishmania. PCR products were purified from the gel and were sequenced. Overall, 19 out of 251 (7.6%) HIV-infected patients were found to be infected with Leishmania, using serological or molecular methods. Anti-Leishmania antibodies were detected in 13 (5.2%) patients and leishmanial DNA in 8 (3.2%) of the patients. The sequence analysis of DNA-positive cases revealed the species of the parasite as L. infantum. The high prevalence of VL among the patients with HIV is a serious challenge which demands further attention to improve the prophylaxis and treatment measurements of VL/HIV co-infection and thereby promoting the life expectancy and quality of life of these patients.