Volume 60, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Diarrheal disease and its associated morbidities occur frequently in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and may be associated with a decreased quality of life. We studied the spectrum of symptoms, measures of nutritional status, and the enteric pathogens associated with diarrheal disease in a group of 24 patients infected with HIV in Bangkok, Thailand compared with a group of 19 patients infected with HIV without diarrhea cared for at the same clinic. Patients with diarrhea appeared to have more advanced disease by CD4 cell counts and complained more frequently of symptoms such as anorexia, gas, and bloating than patients without diarrhea. Patients with diarrhea had a tendency toward a lower nutritional status, as measured by body mass index and mid arm circumference. Stool culture and examination revealed that enteric pathogens including Salmonella species and Cryptosporidium parvum sporidia were recovered at equal frequencies in patients with and without diarrhea (27% of the patients with diarrhea and 25% of the patients without diarrhea). Microsporidia was identified in one patient with diarrhea. It was not possible to identify a pathogen in 73% of the patients with diarrhea and 75% of the patients without diarrhea, suggesting that additional agents or factors may be responsible for the diarrheal symptoms in the patients with diarrhea. More extensive studies to identify potentially treatable pathogens in HIV-infected patients with diarrhea in Thailand are warranted and further attempts to better define the syndrome of pathogen-negative diarrheal disease in patients infected with HIV might result in the development of more targeted interventions in these patients.


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