Best tactical approach to handling patients with simultaneous parasitic and HIV infection

One of the most common waterborne diseases worldwide is cryptosporidiosis, a parasitic disease affecting the small intestine and possibly our airways. It is a common cause of diarrhoea in HIV-positive patients, who are known to have lower immunity. Now Kazeem Oare Okosun from Vaal University of Technology in South Africa and colleagues from Pakistan and Nigeria have developed a new model and numerical simulations to determine the optimal combination of prevention and treatment strategies for controlling both diseases in patients who have been co-infected. Their results, recently published in EPJ Plus, show a positive impact on the treatment and prevention for cryptosporidiosis alone, for HIV-AIDS alone, or for both together.

Although there are many mathematical models on HIV infection, there are far fewer for cryptosporidiosis. And, until now, there was no co-infection model for cryptosporidiosis and HIV-AIDS. The authors examined what happens to patients presenting both infections when they are subjected to five prevention methods and treatments for cryptosporidiosis alone, for HIV-AIDS alone and for both at specific intervals. They then explored their effects on the co-infection by performing numerical analyses.

They found that cryptosporidiosis preventions and treatment alone had no significant impact on reducing HIV-AIDS-related problems. By contrast, the prevention and treatment strategy for HIV-AIDS had a significant positive impact on the co-infected patients. Finally, applying both strategies at the same time resulted in reduction in all cases. They also found that, when both diseases were treated at the same time, it had a positive impact in cryptosporidiosis patients and on the level of environmental contamination, with no difference in the co-infected cases.