Increased malaria parasitaemia among adults living with HIV who have discontinued cotrimoxazole prophylaxis in Kitgum district, Uganda
Although WHO recommends cotrimoxazole (CTX) discontinuation among HIV patients who have undergone immune recovery and are living in areas of low prevalence of malaria, some countries including Uganda recommend CTX discontinuation despite having a high malaria burden. We estimated the prevalence and factors associated with malaria parasitaemia among adults living with HIV attending hospital outpatient clinic before and after discontinuation of CTX prophylaxis. Methods Between March and April
... , 599 participants aged 18 years and above, and attending Kitgum hospital HIV clinic in Uganda were enrolled in a cross study. A standardized questionnaire was administered and physical examination conducted. A finger-prick blood sample was collected for identification of malaria parasites by microscopy. The prevalence of parasitaemia was estimated and compared among participants on and those who had discontinued CTX prophylaxis, and factors associated with malaria parasitaemia assessed. Results Of the enrolled participants, 27 (4.5%) had malaria parasites and 452 (75.5%) had stopped CTX prophylaxis. Prevalence of malaria parasitaemia was significantly higher in participants who had stopped CTX prophylaxis (5.5% versus 1.4% p = 0.03) and increased with increasing duration since the discontinuation of prophylaxis. Compared to participants taking CTX, those who discontinued prophylaxis for 3–5 months and >5 months were more likely to have malaria parasites (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 1.64, 95% CI 0.37–7.29, p = 0.51, and aPR = 6.06, 95% CI 1.34–27.3, P = 0.02). Low CD4 count (< 250cells/mm3) was also associated with increased risk of having parasites (aPR = 4.31, 95% CI 2.13–8.73, p <0.001). Conclusion People from malaria endemic settings living with HIV have a higher prevalence of malaria parasitaemia following discontinuation of CTX compared to those still on prophylaxis. The risk increased with increasing duration since discontinuation of the prophylaxis. HIV patients should not discontinue CTX prophylaxis in areas of Uganda where the burden of malaria remains high. Other proven malaria control interventions may also be encouraged in HIV patients following discontinuation of CTX prophylaxis.