Malaria prevalence in HIV-positive children, pregnant women, and adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Background: Malaria in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients is an ever-increasing global burden for human health. The present meta-analysis summarizes published literature on the prevalence of malaria infection in HIV-positive children, pregnant women and adults.

Methods: This study followed the PRISMA guideline. The PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar, Scopus and Cochrane databases were searched for relevant entries published between 1 January 1983 and 1 March 2020. All peer-reviewed original papers evaluating the prevalence of malaria among HIV-positive patients were included. Incoherence and heterogeneity between studies were quantified by the I2 index and Cochran’s Q test. Publication and population biases were assessed with funnel plots, and Egger’s regression asymmetry test.

Results: A total of 106 studies were included in this systematic review. The average prevalence of malaria among HIV-positive children, HIV-positive pregnant women and HIV-positive adults was 39.4% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 26.6–52.9), 32.3% (95% CI = 26.3–38.6) and 27.3% (95% CI = 20.1–35.1), respectively. In adult patients with HIV, CD4+ (cluster of differentiation 4) < 200 cells/µl and age < 40 years were associated with a significant increase in the odds of malaria infection (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.2–1.7 and OR = 1.1, 95% CI = 1–1.3, respectively). Antiretroviral therapy (ART) and being male were associated with a significant decrease in the chance of malaria infection in HIV-positive adults (OR = 0.8, 95% CI = 0.7–0.9 and OR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.2–0.3, respectively). In pregnant women with HIV, CD4+ count < 200 cells/µl was related to a higher risk for malaria infection (OR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1–1.9).

Conclusions: This systematic review demonstrates that malaria infection is concerningly common among HIV-positive children, pregnant women and adults. Among HIV-positive adults, ART medication and being male were associated with a substantial decrease in infection with malaria. For pregnant women, CD4+ count of < 200 cells/µl was a considerable risk factor for malaria infection.


Mirzohreh ST, Safarpour H, Pagheh AS, Bangoura B, Barac A, Ahmadpour E




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-infections
    • Malaria


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