Prevalence of intestinal parasites in relation to CD4 counts and anaemia among HIV-infected patients in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
Parasitic infections continue to take their toll on HIV positive patients by influencing the blood qualitatively and quantitatively. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in relation to anaemia and CD4 counts among HIV-infected patients in Benin City, Nigeria. Using a serial sampling method, a total of 2000 HIV-infected patients were recruited on their first visit prior to highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital from August 2007 to August 2009. Stool and blood samples were collected from each patient. The stool samples were processed using the modified Ziehl-Neelsen staining technique to microscopically identify the oocysts of Cryptosporidium species, Isospora belli, Cyclospora species and spores of Microsporidium species while saline and iodine preparations were used for identifying the ova, cysts and parasites of Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm, Taenia spp and other parasites. The blood specimens were equally analyzed using the flow cytometry for CD4+ T-lymphocyte count and autoanalyzer – sysmex kx – 21 for haemoglobin concentration. The overall prevalence of anaemia was 93.3% while 18% had parasitic infections. There was a significant relationship between CD4 count <200cells/µL and anaemia (P<0.0001). Cryptosporidium species (P= 0.005), A. lumbricoides (P=0.035), hookworm and Taenia species (P=0.014) were associated with anaemia. Anaemia was associated with CD4 count while Cryptosporidium species, Ascaris lumbricoides, hookworm and Taenia species were the intestinal parasitic agents associated with anaemia. In conclusion the prevalence of anaemia in HIV-infected patients is high low CD4 count is a significant risk factor of acquiring anaemia. Except for isosporiasis, cryptosporidiosis, A. lumbricoides, hookworm and Taenia species in HIV infected individuals are parasitic agents associated with anaemia. Routine screening for intestinal parasites and holistic management of anaemia is advocated.