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Prevalence of sexually transmitted co-infections in people living with HIV/AIDS: systematic review with implications for using HIV treatments for prevention
  1. Seth C Kalichman,
  2. Jennifer Pellowski,
  3. Christina Turner
  1. University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, USA
  1. Correspondence toDr Seth C Kalichman, Department of Psychology, 406 Babbidge Road, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA; seth.k{at}


Sexually transmitted co-infections increase HIV infectiousness through local inflammatory processes. The prevalence of STI among people living with HIV/AIDS has implications for containing the spread of HIV in general and the effectiveness of HIV treatments for prevention in particular. Here we report a systematic review of STI co-infections in people living with HIV/AIDS. We focus on STI contracted after becoming HIV infected. Electronic database and manual searches located 37 clinical and epidemiological studies of STI that increase HIV infectiousness. Studies of adults living with HIV/AIDS from developed and developing countries reported STI rates for 46 different samples (33 samples had clinical/laboratory confirmed STI). The overall mean point-prevalence for confirmed STI was16.3% (SD=16.4), and median 12.4% STI prevalence in people living with HIV/AIDS. The most common STI studied were Syphilis with median 9.5% prevalence, Gonorrhea 9.5%, Chlamydia 5%, and Trichamoniasis 18.8% prevalence. STI prevalence was greatest at the time of HIV diagnosis, reflecting the role of STI in HIV transmission. Prevalence of STI among individuals receiving HIV treatment was not appreciably different from untreated persons. The prevalence of STI in people infected with HIV suggests that STI co-infections could undermine efforts to use HIV treatments for prevention by increasing genital secretion infectiousness.

  • HIV
  • HIV/STI co-infection
  • HIV treatment for prevention
  • prevention
  • sexual health
  • STD
  • test and treat

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  • Funding This project was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grants R01-MH71164 and R01-MH82633 and National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism RC1AA018983.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.