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Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases

versão impressa ISSN 1413-8670


COELHO, Lara; VELOSO, Valdiléa Gonçalves; GRINSZTEJN, Beatriz  e  LUZ, Paula Mendes. Trends in overall opportunistic illnesses, Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, cerebral toxoplasmosis andMycobacterium avium complex incidence rates over the 30 years of the HIV epidemic: a systematic review. Braz J Infect Dis [online]. 2014, vol.18, n.2, pp.196-210. ISSN 1413-8670.


The natural history of HIV infection has changed dramatically after the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Currently, opportunistic illnesses still represent a major cause of death and hospitalization in this population. In this study, we review the trends in opportunistic illnesses incidence rates and compare the results observed in high-income settings with that for low/middle-income settings, with special attention given to studies from Brazil.


We systematically searched Pubmed, Web of Science, Lilacs and Google scholar for publications on HIV associated opportunistic illness. Studies reporting rates based on person-time for all opportunistic illnesses and/or the three opportunistic infections of interest, namely,Pneumocystis cariniipneumonia, cerebral toxoplasmosis, and Mycobacterium aviumcomplex were included.


Significant reductions in the incidence rates were demonstrated for opportunistic illnesses overall and also for the specific opportunistic infections included in the present study, both in high and low/middle-income settings. Out of the 37 studies included in the present review, almost 70% were from high-income settings. All the studies conducted in low/middle-income settings were single center studies and four were from Brazil. We found no study from Brazil reporting annual incidence rates of opportunistic illnesses.


Opportunistic illnesses remain an important public health problem. To better guide health policies in low/middle-income settings, multicenter cohort studies should be encouraged. Studies from Brazil are urgently needed to assess the current burden of opportunistic illnesses in our population and to support the planning of HIV/AIDS health care services organization.

Palavras-chave : AIDS-related opportunistic infections; Opportunistic infection; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Incidence.

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