Incidence, clinical presentation, and outcome of HIV-1-associated cryptococcal meningitis during the highly active antiretroviral therapy era: a nationwide cohort study

Touma, Madeleine; Rasmussen, Line D.; Martin-Iguacel, Raquel; Engsig, Frederik Neess; Stærke, Nina Breinholt; Stærkind, Mette; Obel, Niels; Ahlström, Magnus Glindvad
July 2017
Clinical Epidemiology;Jul2017, Vol. 9, p385
Academic Journal
Background: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection with advanced immunosuppression predisposes to cryptococcal meningitis (CM). We describe the incidence, clinical presentation, and outcome of CM in HIV-infected individuals during the highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era. Methods: A nationwide, population-based cohort of HIV-infected individuals was used to estimate incidence and mortality of CM including risk factors. A description of neurological symptoms of CM at presentation and follow-up in the study period 1995-2014 was included in this study. Results: Among 6,351 HIV-infected individuals, 40 were diagnosed with CM. The incidence rates were 3.7, 1.8, and 0.3 per 1000 person-years at risk in 1995-1996, 1997-1999, and 2000-2014, respectively. Initiation of HAART was associated with decreased risk of acquiring CM [incidence rate ratio (IRR), 0.1 (95% CI, 0.05-0.22)]. African origin was associated with increased risk of CM [IRR, 2.05 (95% CI, 1.00-4.20)]. The main signs and symptoms at presentation were headache, cognitive deficits, fever, neck stiffness, nausea, and vomiting. All individuals diagnosed with CM had a CD4+ cell count <200 cells/μl [median 26; interquartile range (IQR), 10-50)]. Overall, mortality following CM was high and mortality in the first 4 months has not changed substantially over time. However, individuals who survived generally had a favorable prognosis, with 86% (18/21) returning to the pre-CM level of activity. Conclusion: The incidence of HIV-associated CM has decreased substantially after the introduction of HAART. To further decrease CM incidence and associated mortality, early HIV diagnosis and HAART initiation seems crucial.


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