Open Access Open Badges Research

Prevalence and clinical features of HIV and malaria co-infection in hospitalized adults in Beira, Mozambique

Annalisa Saracino12*, Edy A Nacarapa3, Ézio A da Costa Massinga3, Domenico Martinelli4, Marco Scacchetti1, Carlos de Oliveira5, Anita Antonich1, Donata Galloni1, Josefo J Ferro3 and César A Macome5

Author Affiliations

1 Doctors with Africa CUAMM-Mozambique, Beira, Mozambique

2 Clinic of Infectious Diseases, University of Foggia, v.le L. Pinto 1, Foggia, 71100, Italy

3 Catholic University of Mozambique, Beira, Mozambique

4 Institute of Hygiene, University of Foggia-Italy, Foggia, Italy

5 Central Hospital of Beira-Mozambique, Beira, Mozambique

For all author emails, please log on.

Malaria Journal 2012, 11:241  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-241

Published: 26 July 2012



Mozambique presents a very high prevalence of both malaria and HIV infection, but the impact of co-cancel infection on morbidity in this population has been rarely investigated. The aim of this study was to describe the prevalence and clinical characteristics of malaria in hospitalized adult HIV-positive patients, treated and untreated with combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and cotrimoxazole (CTX)-based chemoprophylaxis, compared to HIV negatives.


From November to December 2010, all adult patients consecutively admitted to the Department of Internal Medicine of Beira Central Hospital, Sofala Province, Mozambique, were submitted to HIV testing, malaria blood smear (MBS) and, in a subgroup of patients, also to the rapid malaria test (RDT). Socio-demographical and clinical data were collected for all patients. The association of both a positive MBS and/or RDT and diagnosis of clinical malaria with concomitant HIV infection (and use of CTX and/or ART) was assessed statistically. Frequency of symptoms and hematological alterations in HIV patients with clinical malaria compared to HIV negatives was also analysed. Sensitivity and specificity for RDT versus MBS were calculated for both HIV-positive and negative patients.


A total of 330 patients with available HIV test and MBS were included in the analysis, 220 of whom (66.7%) were HIV-positive. In 93 patients, malaria infection was documented by MBS and/or RDT. RDT sensitivity and specificity were 94% and 96%, respectively. According to laboratory results, the initial malaria suspicion was discarded in about 10% of cases, with no differences between HIV-positive and negative patients. A lower malaria risk was significantly associated with CTX prophylaxis (p=0.02), but not with ART based on non nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). Overall, severe malaria seemed to be more common in HIV-positive patients (61.7%) compared to HIV-negatives (47.2%), while a significantly lower haemoglobin level was observed in the group of HIV-positive patients (9.9±2.8mg/dl) compared to those HIV-negative (12.1±2.8mg/dl) (p=0.003).


Malaria infection was rare in HIV-positive individuals treated with CTX for opportunistic infections, while no independent anti-malarial effect for NNRTIs was noted. When HIV and malaria co-infection occurred, a high risk of complications, particularly anaemia, should be expected.

HIV; Malaria; Cotrimoxazole; Antiretrovirals; Mozambique