Schistosoma and Other Relevant Helminth Infections in HIV-Positive Individuals—An Overview
For many years, researchers have postulated that helminthic infections may increase susceptibility to HIV, and that immune activation may have contributed to the extensive spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. In the meantime, immunological studies have provided some evidence in support of this hypothesis, while cross-sectional clinical studies were able to further support the assumed association between HIV infection and selected helminthic co-infections. However, as many of the helminthic infections relevant to HIV-infected patients belong to the group of “neglected tropical diseases”, as defined by the World Health Organization, a certain lack of attention has inhibited progress in fully scaling up treatment and prevention efforts. In addition, despite the fact that the challenges of co-infections have preoccupied clinicians for over two decades, relevant research questions remain unanswered. The following review aims to provide a concise overview of associations between HIV and selected helminthic co-infections concerning aspects of HIV acquisition and transmission, clinical and immunological findings in co-infected individuals, as well as treatment and prevention efforts.