Should we care about Plasmodium vivax and HIV co-infection? A systematic review and a cases series from the Brazilian Amazon


BACKGROUND: Malaria and HIV are two important public health issues. However, evidence on HIV-Plasmodium vivax co-infection (HIV/PvCo) is scarce, with most of the available information related to Plasmodium falciparum on the African continent. It is unclear whether HIV can change the clinical course of vivax malaria and increase the risk of complications. In this study, a systematic review of HIV/PvCo studies was performed, and recent cases from the Brazilian Amazon were included. METHODS: Medical records from a tertiary care centre in the Western Brazilian Amazon (2009-2018) were reviewed to identify HIV/PvCo hospitalized patients. Demographic, clinical and laboratory characteristics and outcomes are reported. Also, a systematic review of published studies on HIV/PvCo was conducted. Metadata, number of HIV/PvCo cases, demographic, clinical, and outcome data were extracted. RESULTS: A total of 1,048 vivax malaria patients were hospitalized in the 10-year period; 21 (2.0%) were HIV/PvCo cases, of which 9 (42.9%) had AIDS-defining illnesses. This was the first malaria episode in 11 (52.4%) patients. Seven (33.3%) patients were unaware of their HIV status and were diagnosed on hospitalization. Severe malaria was diagnosed in 5 (23.8%) patients. One patient died. The systematic review search provided 17 articles (12 cross-sectional or longitudinal studies and 5 case report studies). A higher prevalence of studies involved cases in African and Asian countries (35.3 and 29.4%, respectively), and the prevalence of reported co-infections ranged from 0.1 to 60%. CONCLUSION: Reports of HIV/PvCo are scarce in the literature, with only a few studies describing clinical and laboratory outcomes. Systematic screening for both co-infections is not routinely performed, and therefore the real prevalence of HIV/PvCo is unknown. This study showed a low prevalence of HIV/PvCo despite the high prevalence of malaria and HIV locally. Even though relatively small, this is the largest case series to describe HIV/PvCo.


Del-Tejo PL, Cubas-Vega N, Caraballo-Guerra C, da Silva BM, da Silva V, Sampaio VS, Baia-da-Silva DC, Castro DB, Martinez-Espinosa FE, Siqueira AM, Lacerda MVG, Monteiro WM, Val F




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


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