Human immunodeficiency virus, antiretroviral therapy and markers of lymphatic filariasis infection: A crosssectional study in Rural Northern Malawi

Terence Tafatatha*, Miriam Taegtmeyer, Bagrey Ngwira, Amos Phiri, Mariot Kondowe, Wilson Piston, Anna Molesworth, Ndoliwe Kayuni, Olivier Koole, Amelia Crampin, John Horton, Neil French

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract / Description of output

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), p2 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0003825
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2015

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