Schistosoma haematobium infection and CD4+ T-cell levels: a cross-sectional study of young South African women

Kleppa E, Klinge KF, Galaphaththi-Arachchige HN, Holmen SD, Lillebø K, Onsrud M, Gundersen SG, Taylor M, Ndhlovu P, Kjetland EF

Journal title: PloS one

PLoS ONE 2015;10(3):e0119326

PMID: 25768005

Article on PubMed:


Schistosoma (S.) haematobium causes urogenital schistosomiasis and has been hypothesized to adversely impact HIV transmission and progression. On the other hand it has been hypothesized that HIV could influence the manifestations of schistosomiasis. In this cross-sectional study, we explored the association between urogenital S. haematobium infection and CD4 cell counts in 792 female high-school students from randomly selected schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We also investigated the association between low CD4 cell counts in HIV positive women and the number of excreted schistosome eggs in urine. Sixteen percent were HIV positive and 31% had signs of urogenital schistosomiasis (as determined by genital sandy patches and / or abnormal blood vessels on ectocervix / vagina by colposcopy or presence of eggs in urine). After stratifying for HIV status, participants with and without urogenital schistosomiasis had similar CD4 cell counts. Furthermore, there was no significant difference in prevalence of urogenital schistosomiasis in HIV positive women with low and high CD4 cell counts. There was no significant difference in the number of eggs excreted in urine when comparing HIV positive and HIV negative women. Our findings indicate that urogenital schistosomiasis do not influence the number of circulating CD4 cells.