Treatment of intestinal worms is associated with decreased HIV plasma viral load

Dawit Wolday, Shlomo Mayaan, Zeru G. Mariam, Nega Berhe, Teshale Seboxa, Sven Britton, Noya Galai, Alan Landay, Zvi Bentwich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Background: We have previously suggested that helminthic infections make the host more susceptible to HIV infection and enhance its progression due to the chronic immune activation they cause. Objective: To study the effect of antihelminthic treatment on HIV plasma viral load (VL) in HIV- and helminth-infected individuals living in Ethiopia. Methods: Fifty-six clinically asymptomatic HIV-1-infected individuals, 31 (55%) of whom were also infected with helminths, were studied. All participants received antihelminthic treatment at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. Worm egg excretion, HIV plasma VL, and T-cell subsets were determined at baseline and 6 months after treatment. Results: The mean age, number of CD4 T cells, and gender distribution were similar in the helminth-infected and -noninfected groups. At baseline, HIV plasma VL was strongly correlated to the number of eggs excreted (p < .001) and was higher in individuals infected with more than one helminth (5.28 ± 0.35 versus 4.30 ± 1.13 log10 RNA copies/mL, respectively; p = .16). After treatment of helminths, the 6-month change in HIV plasma VL was significantly different between the successfully treated group and the persistently helminth-positive group (p = .04) Conclusions: Helminth "load" is correlated to HIV plasma VL, and successful deworming is associated with a significant decrease in HIV plasma VL. The results of the current study, if confirmed in a larger study, may have important implications for slowing disease progression and reducing risks of transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Deworming
  • Helminthic infection
  • HIV
  • HIV plasma viral load
  • Immune activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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