The effect of Plasmodium falciparum malaria on HIV-1 RNA blood plasma concentration

Irving F. Hoffman, Charles S. Jere, Terrie E. Taylor, Peter Munthali, John R. Dyer, Jack J. Wirima, Stephen J. Rogerson, Newton Kumwenda, Joe J. Eron, Susan A. Fiscus, Hrishitesh Chakraborty, Taha E. Taha, Myron S. Cohen, Malcolm E. Molyneux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study was undertaken to determine the relative effect of malaria infection on HIV concentration in blood plasma, and prospectively to monitor viral concentrations after antimalarial therapy. Design: A prospective, double cohort study was designed to compare the blood HIV-1 RNA concentrations of HIV-positive individuals with and without acute malaria illness. Subjects were followed for 4 weeks after successful malaria therapy, or for 4 weeks from enrollment (controls). Methods: Malawian adults with symptomatic Plasmodium falciparum parasitemia (malaria group) and asymptomatic, aparasitemic blood donors (control group) were tested for HIV-1 antibodies to identify appropriate study groups. The malaria group received antimalarial chemotherapy only and were followed with sequential blood films. In both groups, blood plasma HIV-1 RNA viral concentrations were determined at enrollment and again at 1, 2 and 4 weeks. Results: Forty-seven malaria patients and 42 blood donors were enrolled. At enrollment blood plasma HIV-1 RNA concentrations were approximately sevenfold higher in patients with malaria than in blood donors (medians 15.1 × 104 and 2.24 × 104 copies/ml, respectively, P = 0.0001). No significant changes in median HIV-1 concentrations occurred in the 21 blood donors followed to week 4 (P = 0.68). In the 27 subjects successfully treated for malaria who were followed to week 4, a reduction in plasma HIV-1 RNA was observed from a median of 19.1 × 104 RNA copies/ml at enrollment, to 12.0 × 104 copies/ml at week 4, (P = 0.02). Plasma HIV-1 concentrations remained higher in malaria patients than controls (median 12.0 × 104 compared with 4.17 × 104 copies/ml, P = 0.086). Conclusions: HIV-1 blood viral burden is higher in patients with P. falciparum malaria than in controls and this viral burden can, in some patients, be partly reduced with antimalarial therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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