Pneumococcal bacteremia as a marker for HIV - Tips from Other Journals

Date: Dec, 1990

Pneumococcal bacteremia is more common in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome than in the general population. Chirurgi and colleagues believe that pneumococcal bacteremia may be a common presenting manifestation of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

The authors reviewed the records of all adult patients with blood cultures positive for Streptococcus pneumoniae at two large hospitals. Patients were seen between January 1987 and April 1989. One of the hospitals served veterans and the other primarily served indigent patients. Of the 41 patients admitted with pneumococcal bacteremia, six (15 percent) were seropositive for HIV. Only one had been diagnosed with HIV prior to the bacteremia. Three of the HIV-positive patients were asymptomatic, but three had AIDS-related complex (ARC).

Although HIV screening of hospitalized patients raises ethical questions, the authors believe that all adult patients with pneumococcal bacteremia should be closely questioned about risk factors for HIV infection and should be carefully examined for further signs and symptoms. HIV-infected patients may benefit from early diagnosis and therapy. (Southern Medical Journal, August 1990, vol. 83, p. 895.)

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