Characteristics of the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome in Brazil

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  • Federal University of Bahia, Hospital Central Roberto Santos, Division of International Medicine, Cornell University Medical College, Salvador, Brazil

The clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were studied in a tropical area of Brazil. During an 18-month period (July 1989–January 1991), 111 consecutive AIDS patients (102 men and nine women) were evaluated. Patients reported homosexual/bisexual activities (60%), intravenous drug use (19%), or both (6%), heterosexual activities (11%), blood transfusions (2%), and 2% belonged to an undetermined category. Weight loss, fever, oral thrush, and diarrhea were present in ≥ 70% of the patients at presentation. An unexpected high frequency of hepatomegaly (49%) was detected, and found to be significantly associated with tuberculosis (P < 0.0001). Although the epidemiologic features of human immunodeficiency virus transmission were comparable to the United States/European pattern, the clinical spectrum of opportunistic infections more closely resembled that reported in Africa and Haiti, with a greater frequency of fungal and mycobacterial infections than Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia and viral infections.