Diarrhea caused by opportunistic intestinal protozoa is a common problem in HIV infection. We aimed to establish the prevalence of Cryptosporidium, misrosporidia, and Isospora in HIV-infected people using a systematic review and meta-analysis, which is central to developing public policy and clinical services.
We searched PubMed, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, Embase, Chinese Web of Knowledge, Wanfang, and Chongqing VIP databases for studies reporting Cryptosporidium, microsporidia, or Isospora infection in HIV-infected people. We extracted the numbers of people with HIV and protozoa infection, and estimated the pooled prevalence of parasite infection by a random effects model.
Our research identified 131 studies that reported Cryptosporidium, microsporidia, and Isospora infection in HIV-infected people. We estimated the pooled prevalence to be 14.0% (3283/43,218; 95% CI: 13.0–15.0%) for Cryptosporidium, 11.8% (1090/18,006; 95% CI: 10.1–13.4%) for microsporidia, and 2.5% (788/105,922; 95% CI: 2.1–2.9%) for Isospora. A low prevalence of microsporidia and Isospora infection was found in high-income countries, and a high prevalence of Cryptosporidium and Isospora infection was found in sub-Saharan Africa. We also detected a high prevalence of Cryptosporidium, microsporidia, and Isospora infection in patients with diarrhea. Sensitivity analysis showed that three studies significantly affect the prevalence of Isospora, which was adjusted to 5.0% (469/8570; 95% CI: 4.1–5.9%) by excluding these studies.
Our findings suggest that HIV-infected people have a high prevalence of Cryptosporidium, microsporidia, and Isospora infection in low-income countries and patients with diarrhea, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, reinforcing the importance of routine surveillance for opportunistic intestinal protozoa in HIV-infected people.