Double jeopardy

malaria and human immunodeficiency virus (hiv) infection are both endemic in several countries. While the effects of hiv infection on malaria have been documented, can malaria also enhance hiv transmission and accelerate disease progression? The answer is in the affirmative, according to a recently published article in The Lancet (Vol 365, No 9455).

James G Kublin from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle, usa and his team conducted a study on 334 people in Malawi, Africa to find out how the malarial parasite influences viral concentrations, or viral load, in hiv -infected adults. For each subject, the hiv concentration in blood was measured three times: during the enrolment visit when the subject was free from malaria parasite; during an episode of malaria and then about 8 weeks later when the subject had been rid of the malarial parasite following treatment. The main parameters measured were the cd 4 count (cd 4 are white blood cells whose number indicate the status of hiv infection) and the viral loads. Their values at the beginning of the study were taken as baseline data.

The findings show the hiv concentration in the blood could double with malaria. The greatest increases occurred when the individuals had had fever; with parasite density more than 2000/