JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Prevalence of intestinal protozoan infections among individuals living with HIV/AIDS at Felegehiwot Referral Hospital, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

BACKGROUND: HIV infection continues to pose a serious challenge to global health by predisposing patients to opportunistic infections. A cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2012 to February 2013 to assess the enteric protozoan infection status among individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Felegehiwot Referral Hospital, Bahir Dar, northwest Ethiopia.

METHODS: Stool specimens from 399 HIV-positive individuals were examined for the presence of trophozoites, cysts, and oocysts using direct wet mount, formol-ether sedimentation and modified Ziehl-Neelsen techniques. In addition, CD4+ T-cell counts were measured to evaluate the immune status of the study subjects.

RESULTS: An overall prevalence of 30.6% enteric protozoan infections was recorded. Pre-ART (antiretroviral treatment) individuals were more infected than patients on ART, although this was not statistically significant (p>0.05). The highest prevalence of enteric protozoan infection was due to Entamoeba histolytica/E. dispar (19.3%), followed by Cryptosporidium spp (5.8%), Giardia lamblia (4.3%), and Isospora belli (1.3%). A CD4+ T-cell count of <200 cells/μl and status of being diarrhoeic were significantly associated with the overall prevalence of enteric protozoan infection.

CONCLUSIONS: A relatively high prevalence of enteric protozoan infection was observed among individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Routine stool and CD4+ T-cell examinations should be conducted to monitor the status of HIV/AIDS patients.

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