Journal of Gastrointestinal Infections

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VOLUME 6 , ISSUE 1 ( 2016 ) > List of Articles


Opportunistic agents causing diarrhea in HIV

Varsha Gupta, Gursimran Mohi

Keywords : Diarrhea, gastrointestinal tract, HIV/AIDS, opportunistic infections

Citation Information : Gupta V, Mohi G. Opportunistic agents causing diarrhea in HIV. J Gastrointest Infect 2016; 6 (1):22-31.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-jogi-6-1-22

License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Published Online: 01-06-2015

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2016; The Author(s).


Opportunistic infections (OIs) in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection continue to cause morbidity and mortality in HIV infected patients. Virtually all OIs occur when the CD4+T cell count is less than 200/mm3. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is a common site for clinical expression of HIV. Diarrhea is the most common GI symptom in HIV/AIDS. Prevalence ranges from 0.9% to 14%. Diarrhea may be the presenting symptom of lymphoma and Kaposi's sarcoma. It may affect up to 40–50% of those taking anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and can be induced by other medications. It may also be the result of HIV-associated enteropathy. The agents can be classified as bacterial, parasitic, viral and fungal agents. Almost all bacterial diarrheic agents can cause diarrhea in HIV infected patients, including Clostridium difficile. Intracellular parasites like Isospora belli, Cryptosporidium parvum and Cyclospora are the main causative agents of diarrhea in HIV positive patients. Cytomegalovirus is an AIDS defining opportunistic infection. Candida is the main fungal agent of diarrhea in AIDS. Despite the availability of ART, OIs are common in India as HIV-infected persons in India present with an OI as the initial indicator of their disease. Some of them are aware of their HIV infection but do not take ART and some patients are enrolled in HIV care and prescribed ART but do not attain an adequate virologic and immunologic cure. Thus awareness about optimal strategies for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of OIs in GI tract is essential to provide comprehensive, high quality care for these patients.

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