Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is one of the most important systemic mycoses in Latin America and the leading fungal cause of mortality in non-immunosuppressed individuals in Brazil. However, HIV/PCM co-infection can increase the clinical severity in these co-infected patients. This co-infection is rarely reported in the literature mainly because of the different epidemiological profiles of these infections. Furthermore, PCM is a neglected and non-notifiable disease, which may underestimate the real importance of this disease. The advent of molecular studies on the species of the genus Paracoccidioides
has expanded the knowledge regarding the severity and the clinical spectrum in PCM. In this context
, the development of studies to describe the association of the Paracoccidioides
phylogenetic cryptic species in vulnerable populations, such as HIV-infected patients, appears relevant.
To describe the clinical, epidemiological, therapeutic and prognostic aspects in HIV/PCM co-infected patients, along with the molecular identification of the Paracoccidioides
species involved in these cases.
The investigators performed a molecular and clinical retrospective study involving HIV/PCM co-infected patients, from a reference centre for PCM care in the endemic area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 1998 to 2015. Molecular identification of the fungal strains was done by amplification of partial sequences of arf
Of 89 patients diagnosed with PCM by fungal isolation in the culture, a viable isolate was recovered for molecular analysis from 44 patients. Of these 44 patients, 28 (63.6%) had their serum samples submitted for enzyme immunoassay tests for screening of HIV antibodies, and 5 (17.9%) had a positive result. All cases were considered severe, with a variable clinical presentation, including mixed, acute/subacute clinical forms and a high rate of complications, requiring combination therapy. Paracoccidioides brasiliensis
S1 was the species identified in all cases.
HIV/PCM co-infection can change the natural history of this fungal disease. The authors reinforce the need to include HIV screening diagnostic tests routinely for patients with PCM.