Cryptococcal Antigenemia in Nigerian Patients With Advanced Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Influence of Antiretroviral Therapy Adherence

Rita Oladele, Alani S. Akanmu , Augustina O. Nwosu, Folasade T Ogunsola, Malcolm Richardson, David Denning

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    Background. Cryptococcal meningitis has a high mortality in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected persons in Africa. This is preventable with early screening and preemptive therapy. We evaluated the prevalence of cryptococcal disease by antigen testing, possible associated factors, and outcomes in HIV-infected patients being managed in a tertiary hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. Methods. Sera were collected from 214 consenting HIV-infected participants with CD4+ counts <250 cells/mm3, irrespective of their antiretroviral therapy (ART) status, between November 2014 and May 2015. A cryptococcal antigen (CrAg) lateral flow assay was used for testing. Pertinent clinical data were obtained from patients and their case notes. Results. Of the 214 participants, females (124; 57.9%) outnumbered males. Mean age was 41.3 ± 9.4 (standard deviation) years. The majority (204; 95.3%) were ART experienced. The median CD4+ cell count was 160 cells/mm3 (interquartile range, 90–210). The overall seroprevalence of cryptococcal antigenemia was 8.9% (19 of 214); 6 of 61 (9.8%) in those with CD4+ cell counts <100 cells/mm3, 4 of 80 (5.0%) in the 100–200 group, and 9 of 73 (12.3%) in 200–250 cells/mm3 group. Among ART-naive patients, 1 of 10 (10%) was CrAg positive. Twenty-seven of 214 (12.6%) had associated oral thrush. Potential baseline meningitis symptoms (3 of 214 [1.4%] experienced neck pain or stiffness and 21 of 214 [9.8%] experienced headache) were common in the study group, but the result was not statistically significant in relation to CrAg positivity. Two of 19 (10.5%) CrAg-positive patients died, 10 of 19 (52.6%) were lost to follow up, and 7 of 19 (36.8%) were alive. Empirical fluconazole was routinely given to those with low CD4 counts <100 cells/mm3, which was unrelated to CrAg positivity (P = .018). Conclusions. We report a prevalence of 8.9% cryptococcal antigenemia in a setting where first-line antifungals are not readily available. We recommend CrAg screening for HIV-infected patients, even for patients on ART.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberofw055
    JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2016


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