HIV-Related Enteropathy in Zambia: A Clinical, Microbiological, and Histological Study

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  • University Teaching Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital Medical School, Hospital for Tropical Diseases, University College and Middlesex School of Medicine, Lusaka, Zambia, England

To investigate the etiology of chronic diarrhea associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in Lusaka, we studied 63 HIV-positive patients and 36 seronegative controls clinically and endoscopically. Stools were studied for morphology and for opportunist infections. Fifty-five percent of patients seropositive for HIV who presented with a history of chronic diarrhea had parasites; the most common were Cryptosporidium (32%), Isospora belli (16%), and Strongyloides stercoralis (6%). As indicated by villous blunting and inflammation on duodenal histology, those with diarrhea and parasites showed the most severe damage. We could not implicate mycobacteria or bacterial overgrowth as causes for the enteropathy associated with HIV.