Malaria and intestinal parasite co-infection and its association with anaemia among people living with HIV in Buea, Southwest Cameroon: A community-based retrospective cohort study

Sorelle Mekachie Sandie, Irene Ule Ngole Sumbele, Martin Mih Tasah, Helen Kuokuo Kimbi
PloS One 2021, 16 (1): e0245743

BACKGROUND: Both malaria and intestinal parasites are endemic in Cameroon, and their co-infection can be of great impact on anaemia among people living with HIV (PLWH). This community-based retrospective cohort study determined the prevalence and association of infections with anaemia in PLWH and HIV-negative individuals in Buea, Cameroon from March to August 2019.

METHODS: The study population comprised of 190 PLWH and 216 consenting HIV-negative individuals from the Buea community. Participants were examined clinically, the collected blood sample was used for malaria parasite (MP) detection, HIV diagnosis and haemoglobin (Hb) measurement while stool samples were examined for the detection of intestinal parasites (IPs). Proportions were compared using Pearson's Chi-square test and association of anaemia with independent variables was evaluated using logistic regression analysis.

RESULTS: Out of the 406 participants, MP, IPs and MP/IP co-infection prevalences were 15.5%, 13.0% and 3.0% respectively. PLWH had a higher prevalence of MP (16.3%, P = 0.17), IPs (23.7%, P ˂ 0.001) and MP/IPs co-infection (3.7%, P = 0.04) when compared with HIV-negative participants. Similarly, PLWH had significantly lower mean haemoglobin value (11.10 ± 1.54 g/dL) than their HIV-negative counterparts (12.45 ± 2.06 g/dL). Also, PLWH co-infected with MP and IPs were observed to have a significantly lower mean haemoglobin value (10.6 ± 1.21 g/dL). PLWH had a significantly (P ˂ 0.001) higher prevalence of mild (56.8%), moderate (18.4%) and severe (1.6%) anaemia when compared with HIV-negative counterparts. The significant risk factors associated with anaemia included being febrile (P = 0.03), MP-infected only (P = 0.001), HIV-infected only (P < 0.001), having dual (P < 0.001) or triple-infections (P = 0.03).

CONCLUSION: Malaria and intestinal parasites remain public health concerns among PLWH and anaemia as a serious haematological abnormality gets exacerbated even with the viral load suppression. Hence, routine medical check-ups among PLWH are recommended.

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