Background Understanding the epidemiology of intestinal parasitic infections is essential for the effective management of HIV infection in areas where intestinal parasites are also endemic. Data on the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections in people living with HIV/AIDS in Cameroon are scarce. This study was designed to determine the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections, as well as assess the predisposing factors for the infections in HIV/AIDS patients in Fako division of Cameroon.
Methods Stool specimen was collected from consented participants and examined for ova, cysts, larvae or oocytes using the Kato-Katz, Formalin-Ether Concentration, Modified Ziehl-Neelsen and Modified field staining techniques. Statistical analyses performed included the Chi-square test and logistic regression.
Results At the end of the study, 300 participants were enrolled, the majority being females 236 (78.6%). The participants were between 21–70 years (mean±SD=40±10) of age. The overall prevalence of intestinal parasites was 82.6% (95% CI: 78.4–87.0). The prevalence of infection was associated with age, being more prevalent in the age group 51–60 years (p=0.032). Intestinal protozoa were more prevalent than intestinal helminthes (74.3% vs 11.3%). The parasites isolated included: Cryptosporidium parvum (44.0%), Blastocystis hominis (25.0%), Microsporidium spp. (21.0%), Entamoeba histolytica (7.3%), Ascaris lumbricoïdes (4.3%), Isospora belli (4.3%), Trichuris trichiura (2.3%), hookworm (2.7%), Hymenolepis nana (1.3%), Strongyloïdes stercoralis (0.7%), Cyclospora cayetatensis (3.7%) and Giardia lamblia (3.3%). The predisposing factors for infection with intestinal parasites included poor educational background (OR=0.33, p=0.02), unskilled worker (OR=0.27, p=0.04), a well as source of drinking water (OR=2.6, p=0.03), and living with cats as pets (OR=3.06, p=0.01).
Conclusions A very high prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections was observed in people living with HIV/AIDS. Routine screening for intestinal parasites should be instituted as part of HIV care in Fako division of Cameroon to improve the management of HIV/AIDS.
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