Malaria is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, along with HIV/AIDS, TB and a variety of other infectious diseases. Co-infection, or infection with multiple diseases in a single host, is common but not well understood. Because of its debilitating impact on the human immune system, the HIV/AIDS speeds the progression of malaria within a co-infected person. Other research suggests that malaria infection can trigger an increase in HIV load within an infected person's blood, making that individual more likely to transmit HIV, for example, through sexual contact. A similar mechanism may increase the likelihood of mother-to-child transmission of HIV through the placenta, as has been shown among expecting HIV/AIDS mothers infected with malaria.
People living with HIV/AIDS must therefore be considered particularly vulnerable to malaria, along with children under age five and pregnant women. Antenatal care should strive to address both diseases and their interaction.
You can download various publications on the relationship beyween HIV/AIDS and malaria on the World Health Organization's Global Malaria Program website.
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