Neutropenia occurs in approximately 17% of symptomatic patients infected with HIV. Results of studies have failed to demonstrate a consistent relationship between HIV-related neutropenia and the subsequent development of bacterial infections. This was a case control study to determine if HIV-related neutropenia was associated with increased rates of bacteremia. The experimental group was comprised of 29 patients infected with HIV that had an absolute neutrophil count less than 1000 cells/mm3 and were paired with 29 control subjects infected with HIV that had been matched for age, sex, CD4 count, and month and year of entry. The frequency of bacteremia was 12.6 per 100 patient months among the experimental group compared to a frequency of 0.87 per 100 patient months among the control group (relative risk [RR] = 14.9, P = 0.0027). Other independent risks for the development of bacteremia included central venous catheters (RR= 3.9, P = 0.03), with a trend toward increased risk for bacteremia in those patients who were intravenous drug users (RR = 3.8, P = 0.11), or who had infiltrative bone marrow disease (RR = 3.1, P = 0.11). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that neutropenia (odds ratio [OR] = 22.6, P = 0.028) and the presence of a central venous catheter (OR = 8.5, P = 0.026) were significant risks for bacteremia. These data suggest that neutropenia is a significant risk for the development of bacteremia in patients infected with HIV.
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