Nasal colonization plays an important role in the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus infections. To identify characteristics associated with colonization, we studied a cross-section of a well-described cohort of HIV-seropositive and -seronegative active and former drug users considered at risk for staphylococcal infections. Sixty percent of the 217 subjects were Hispanic, 36% were women, 25% actively used injection drugs, 23% actively used inhalational drugs, 23% received antibiotics, and 35% were HIV-seropositive. Forty-one percent of subjects had positive nasal cultures for S. aureus. The antibiotic susceptibility patterns were similar to the local hospital's outpatient isolates and no dominant strain was identified by arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (AB-PCR). Variables significantly and independently associated with colonization included antibiotic use (odds ratio [OR] = 0.37; confidence interval [CI] = 0.18-0.77), active inhalational drug use within the HIV-seropositive population (OR = 2.36; CI = 1.10-5.10) and female gender (OR = 1.97; CI = 1.09-3.57). Characteristics not independently associated included injection drug use, HIV status, and CD4 count. The association with active inhalational drug use, a novel finding, may reflect alterations in the integrity of the nasal mucosa. The lack of association between HIV infection and S. aureus colonization, which is contrary to most previous studies, could be explained by our rigorous control for confounding variables or by a limited statistical power due to the sample sizes.

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Staphylococcus aureus: Resources
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Holbrook, K.A, Klein, R.S, Hartel, D, Elliott, D.A, B. Barsky, T, H. Rothschild, L, & D. Lowy, F. (1997). Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization in HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative drug users. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology, 16(4), 301–306. Retrieved from