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Absence of Opportunistic Parasitic Infestations in Children Living with HIV/AIDS in Children’s Homes in Jamaica: Pilot Investigations



Background: Many children living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries are infected with intestinal parasites. These infections add unnecessary morbidity to children already suffering the clinical insult of living with HIV/AIDS.

Objective: To determine the prevalence and potential risk factors for intestinal parasitic infections in HIV-infected children living in two institutions in Jamaica.

Methods: A total of 82 faecal specimens were collected from 41 HIV-infected children (age range 2–14 years) who resided in two Children’s Homes. A structured 42-item questionnaire was administered to caregivers to obtain clinical and demographic data on each child. Faecal specimens from each patient were examined using standard microbiological techniques and Cryptosporidium antigen detection was conducted using a commercially available enzyme immunoassay (EIA).

Results: No opportunistic intestinal parasites were identified in this study. Non-opportunistic parasites diagnosed included Giardia lamblia (12.2%) and Ascaris lumbricoides (2.4%) while the commensals Endolimax nana and Entamoeba hartmanni were found in 4.9% and 2.4% of children, respectively.

Conclusion: Children living with HIV/AIDS in institutions in Jamaica that are closely supervised do not appear to be at substantial risk for intestinal parasites. This may be due to the strict clinical monitoring of the children and personal and environmental hygiene practices.

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e-Published: 19 Jul, 2013
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