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Mechanisms of interaction between protozoan parasites and HIV

Andreani, Guadalupea,1; Lodge, Roberta,b,1; Richard, Davea,b; Tremblay, Michel J.a,b

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: May 2012 - Volume 7 - Issue 3 - p 275–281
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e32835211e9
CO-INFECTION OF POVERTY RELATED DISEASES WITH WORMS: Edited by Alison Elliott and Maria Yazdanbakhsh

Purpose of review This review summarizes the current knowledge on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (hereinafter called HIV)/protozoan co-infections in the case of three important, although neglected, tropical diseases: malaria, trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) and leishmaniasis. The HIV pandemic has modified the immunopathogenic, epidemiological and therapeutic aspects of these human diseases.

Recent findings In-vitro data suggests that HIV favors Leishmania infection, whereas different parasites have contrasting effects on HIV. However, many of the previous models are a limited representation of the complex interactions within the host; this situation is particularly the case when microbial products are used in place of live parasites.

Summary In the host, protozoan parasites generally enhance HIV replication and accelerate AIDS progression. HIV alters parasite pathogenesis, often worsening disease outcome. These aspects bring significant complications for the treatment of co-infected individuals.

aCentre de Recherche en Infectiologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec – CHUL

bDépartement de Microbiologie-Infectiologie et Immunologie, Faculté de médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Québec, Canada

1These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to Dr Michel J. Tremblay, Centre de Recherche en Infectiologie, RC709, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec – CHUL, 2705 boul. Laurier, Québec, QC, Canada G1V 4G2. Tel: +1 418 654 2705; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.