Prevalence of visceral leishmaniasis among people with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection expressing different clinical phenotypes. Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is considered an opportunistic infection among people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The objective of this review was to identify published data on the prevalence of Leishmania spp. infection among PWH and to define particular determinants that affect critically the epidemiological characteristics of VL-HIV coinfection and, potentially, its burden on public health. Two independent reviewers conducted a systematic literature search until June 30, 2022. Meta-analyses were conducted using random-effects models to calculate the summary prevalence and respective 95% confidence intervals (CI) of leishmaniasis among PWH. Meta-regression analysis was performed to investigate the impact of putative effect modifiers, such as the mean CD4 cell count, on the major findings. Thirty-four studies were eligible, yielding a summary prevalence of 6% (95%CI, 4–11%) for leishmaniasis (n = 1583) among PWH (n=85,076). Higher prevalence rates were noted in Asia (17%, 95%CI, 9–30%) and America (9%, 95%CI, 5–17%) than in Europe (4%, 95%CI, 2–8%). Prevalence rates were significantly mediated by the age, sex, and CD4 cell count of participants. Heterogeneity remained significant in all meta-analyses (p < 0.0001). In the majority of included studies, people were coinfected with HIV and Leishmania species associated with VL, as opposed to those associated with cutaneous leishmaniasis. No sign of publication bias was shown (p=0.06). Our summary of published studies on leishmaniasis among PWH is important to provide prevalence estimates and define potential underlying factors that could guide researchers to generate and further explore specific etiologic hypotheses.


Kantzanou M, Karalexi MA, Theodoridou K, Kostares E, Kostare G, Loka T, Vrioni G, Tsakris A




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-infections
    • Other


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