Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and malaria are leading causes of morbidity and mortality among under-fives in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV infection could affect development of antimalarial immunity by impaired parasite clearance with predisposition to higher malaria parasitaemia.
The objective of this study is to assess asymptomatic malaria parasite density (AMPD) in HIV-1-infected under-fives in a holoendemic zone.
HIV-1-positive and -negative children <5 years on follow-up care were recruited and AMPD and CD4 counts were determined.
A total of 358 children were studied. Significantly higher malaria parasitaemia was found in HIV-infected individuals (118.7 vs. 87.3 parasite/μl, p = 0.021). Disparity in AMPD was most pronounced at infancy with similar distribution at all age brackets and consistently higher parasitaemia in the subjects.
Parasitaemia is higher in HIV-infected than uninfected children. The burden is highest at infancy. Acquisition of antimalarial immunity is similar in both groups. Parasitaemia is not significantly affected by clinical disease stage or worsening immunosuppression.