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Diagnosis and management of cryptococcal meningitis in HIV-infected adults.

Cryptococcal meningitis is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally, especially in people with advanced HIV disease. Cryptococcal meningitis is responsible for nearly 20% of all deaths related to advanced HIV disease, with the burden of disease predominantly experienced by people in resource-limited countries. Major advancements in diagnostics have introduced low-cost, easy-to-use antigen tests with remarkably high sensitivity and specificity. These tests have led to improved diagnostic accuracy and are essential for screening campaigns to reduce the burden of cryptococcosis. In the last 5 years, several high-quality, multisite clinical trials have led to innovations in therapeutics that have allowed for simplified regimens, which are better tolerated and result in less intensive monitoring and management of medication adverse effects. One trial found that a shorter, 7-day course of deoxycholate amphotericin B is as effective as the longer 14-day course and that flucytosine is an essential partner drug for reducing mortality in the acute phase of disease. Single-dose liposomal amphotericin B has also been found to be as effective as a 7-day course of deoxycholate amphotericin B. These findings have allowed for simpler and safer treatment regimens that also reduce the burden on the healthcare system. This review provides a detailed discussion of the latest evidence guiding the clinical management and special circumstances that make cryptococcal meningitis uniquely difficult to treat.

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