Prevalence and antifungal susceptibility pattern of oral candidiasis among HIV-infected patients in a Mission Hospital, southeast Nigeria

*1Ekwealor, C. C., 2Nweke, C. J., 1Anaukwu, C. G., 1Anakwenze, V. N., 1Ogbukagu, C. M., and 3Mba, A. N.

1Department of Applied Microbiology and Brewing, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria

2Department of Basic Clinical Science, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria

3David Umahi Federal University of Health Sciences, Uburu, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

*Correspondence to:; +234(0)8035080790; ORCID: 0000-0002-7171-2174


Background: Oral candidiasis is an infection that follows colonization of oral cavity by Candida species mostly Candida albicans. About 90% of HIV-infected persons develop this disease during the course of HIV infection and could serve as early sign of HIV-related immunodeficiency. Treatment involves the use of antifungal drugs. The objectives of this study are to determine the prevalence of oral candidiasis and the susceptibility of isolated Candida species to available antifungal agents among selected HIV-infected patients in a mission hospital, southeast Nigeria. 

Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study of 150 consecutively selected HIV-infected patients attending the Heart-to-Heart clinic of Iyi-Enu mission hospital Ogidi, Anambra State, Nigeria, between December 2022 and February 2023. Demographic information of each participant was obtained using structured questionnaire. Five milliliters of whole blood were drawn from the antecubital vein of each participant for CD4+ estimation. Mouth specimens were collected using two sterile cotton swabs for microscopy and culture on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar, and Candida species were identified after subculture on CHROMAgar. Antifungal susceptibility testing was performed by Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method using fluconazole, clotrimazole, ketoconazole, and nystatin disks, and results interpreted according to the guidelines of the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute.

Results: A total of 98 (65.3%) HIV-infected participants were positive for oral candidiasis, with 4 species of Candida isolated; Candida albicans (62.2%), Candida glabrata (18.4%), Candida tropicalis (12.2%) and Candida krusei (7.1%). Fifty-nine (60.2%) of the 98 participants had CD4+ cell count ˂ 200, 33 (33.7%) had counts in the range of 200-399, and 6 (6.1%) had counts in the range of 400-499 cells/µL (p=0.001). The prevalence of candi- diasis was not significantly different between the female (67.0%, 65/97) and male (62.3%, 33/53) participants (p=0.6598), but the prevalence was significantly higher (p<0.05) in participants age group 21-30 years (80.7%, 42/52), divorced (100%, 1/1) and married (75%, 45/60), those with primary school level education (73.7%, 42/57), civil servants (85.7%, 18/21), and those who performed mouth hygiene once daily (71.9%, 69/96). Nystatin (77.6%, 76/98) showed the highest while fluconazole and ketoconazole (68.4%, 62/98) showed the lowest in vitro antifungal activity

Conclusion: Oral candidiasis is prevalent among HIV-infected patients in the study population, with evidence of in vitro resistance of the Candida isolates to available antifungal drugs. Proper diagnosis, susceptibility testing and treatment of infection will be helpful in managing oral candidiasis infection among HIV infected patients.

Keywords: oral candidiasis, prevalence, Candida albicans, antifungal susceptibility test, HIV patient

Download full journal in PDF format below

Prevalence and antifungal susceptibility pattern of oral candidiasis among HIV-infected patients in a Mission Hospital, southeast Nigeria