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HIV and Schistosoma spp. interactions: epidemiology and consequences for detection and prevention in the lake region of Tanzania

  • S. Colombe
dinsdag 7 januari 2020
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sexually transmitted disease that leads to a reduced immune system in the absence of treatment. Schistosoma parasites cause diseases of the uro-genital and intestinal systems. An estimated 6 million individuals are infected with both pathogens (=co-infected), the majority live in Africa.

At the time that the studies described in this thesis started, we knew there was an association between HIV and Schistosoma, and that being infected with Schistosoma may increase women’s risk of getting infected with HIV. This thesis pursued to add to the understanding of HIV-schistosoma co-infections by:
1) Exploring the impact of Schistosoma infection on HIV outcomes and transmission.
2) Exploring the impact of HIV infection on the detection of Schistosoma in co-infected people.

All studies were set in Tanzania, by Lake Victoria.

Our research led to four main results:
1)People who were infected with Schistosoma when they also acquired HIV infection, survived longer on average, and had slower decline in immune cells than those who were not infected with Schistosoma in the first place.
2)Co-infection with Schistosoma was associated with a reduction in the virus load in HIV-infected individuals who were not being treated.
3)Co-infected individuals and women were less likely to excrete parasite eggs.
4)Co-infection with Schistosoma may slightly increase the risk of HIV transmission to heterosexual partners.

The studies presented in this thesis thus yielded further insight into the complex relationship between HIV and Schistosoma infection.


  • Prof.dr. M. Yazdanbakhsh


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