Background. HIV-related immune-suppression increases the risk of malaria (infection, disease and treatment failure) and probably the circulating parasite biomass, favoring the emergence of drug resistance parasites. Methods. The additional malaria parasite biomass related to HIV-1 co-infection in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated by a mathematical model. Parasite biomass was computed as the incidence rate of clinical malaria episodes multiplied by the number of parasites circulating in the peripheral blood of patients at the time symptoms appear. A mathematical model estimated the influence of HIV-1 infection on parasite density in clinical malaria by country and by age group, malaria transmission intensity and urban/rural area. In a multivariate sensitivity analysis, 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the Monte Carlo simulation. Results. The model shows that in 2005 HIV-1 increased the overall malaria parasite biomass by 18.0% (95%CI: 11.6-26.9). The largest relative increase (134.9-243.9%) was found in southern Africa where HIV-1 prevalence is the highest and malaria transmission unstable. The largest absolute increase was found in Zambia, Malawi, the Central African Republic and Mozambique, where both malaria and HIV are highly endemic. A univariate sensitivity analysis shows that estimates are sensitive to the magnitude of the impact of HIV-1 infection on the malaria incidence rates and associated parasite densities. Conclusion. The HIV-1 epidemic by increasing the malaria parasite biomass in sub-Saharan Africa may also increase the emergence of antimalarial drug resistance, potentially affecting the health of the whole population in countries endemic for both HIV-1 and malaria.

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Malaria Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Geertruyden, J. P., Menten, J., Colebunders, R., Korenromp, E., & D'Alessandro, U. (2008). The impact of HIV-1 on the malaria parasite biomass in adults in sub-Saharan Africa contributes to the emergence of antimalarial drug resistance. Malaria Journal, 7. doi:10.1186/1475-2875-7-134