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Female Genital Schistosomiasis and HIV

Research Urgently Needed to Improve Understanding of the Health Impacts of This Important Coinfection

O'Brien, Daniel P., FRACPa,b,c; Ford, Nathan, FRCPEd; Djirmay, Amadou G., MDe; Calmy, Alexandra, MDf; Vitoria, Marco, MDd; Jensen, Tomas O., FRACPg; Christinet, Vanessa, MDh

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: April 15, 2019 - Volume 80 - Issue 5 - p 489–493
doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001957
Critical Review

Abstract: Evidence suggests that there are important interactions between HIV and female genital schistosomiasis (FGS) that may have significant effects on individual and population health. However, the exact way they interact and the health impacts of the interactions are not well understood. In this article, we discuss what is known about the interactions between FGS and HIV, and the potential impact of the interactions. This includes the likelihood that FGS is an important health problem for HIV-positive women in Schistosoma-endemic areas potentially associated with an increased risk of mortality, cancer, and infertility. In addition, it may be significantly impacting the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa by making young women more susceptible to HIV. We call for immediate action and argue that research is urgently required to address these knowledge gaps and propose a research agenda to achieve this.

aManson Unit, Médecins Sans Frontières, London, United Kingdom;

bDepartment of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong, Australia;

cDepartment of Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia;

dHIV Department, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland;

eDepartment of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland;

fHIV Unit, Division of Infectious Diseases, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland;

gMedical Department, Médecins Sans Frontières, Paris, France; and

hCentre International de Recherches, d'Enseignements et de Soins en milieu tropical (CIRES), Akonolinga, Cameroon.

Correspondence to: Daniel P. O'Brien, FRACP, Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital Geelong, Geelong 3220, Australia (e-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

All authors have seen and approved the manuscript and have contributed significantly to the work. The article has not been published and is not being considered for publication elsewhere.

Received September 03, 2018

Accepted December 20, 2018

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