Introduction and objective: Intestinal parasitic infection is an important problem in the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected patients. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of intestinal parasitic infections among HIV+ patients in Mashhad, Iran.
Materials and methods: A coproparasitological study was conducted from October 2005 to August 2006 at Emam Reza hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Iran. It was carried out on 31 HIV+ patients admitted at the HIV clinic and 20 HIV-negative individuals as control group using direct and formalin-ether sedimentation concentration methods, trichrome and acid-fast staining.
Results: Overall prevalence of intestinal parasites among HIV+ population was 67.7% and in control group was 55% without significant difference between the two groups. More specifically, the following parasites were identified in HIV+ group: Giardia lamblia 22.6%, Blastocystis hominis 22.6%, Chilomastics mesnili 22.6%, Entamoeba coli 9.7%, and Entromonas 3.2%. In the control group Entromonas (45%), B. hominis (15%), E. coli (10%), G. lamblia (5%), and Hymenolepis nana (10%). However, the prevalence of G. lamblia, B. hominis and C. mesnili was greater for HIV+ patients (p<0.05). There were statistically significant differences between trichrome staining (28, 54.9% positive for parasites), acid fast methods (6, 11.8%), direct method (7, 13.7%) and formalin-ether method (13, 25.5%) in detection of parasites in two groups (p< 0.05).
Conclusion: Our study shows the importance of testing for intestinal parasites in patients who are HIV-positive, and emphasizes the necessity of increasing awareness among clinicians regarding the occurrence of parasite infections in these patients. Routine examination of stool samples for parasitic infections could significantly benefit the HIV-infected individuals by contributing to reduce morbidity, mortality and improved quality of life.