Elevated Prevalence of Multidrug-Resistant Gram-Negative Organisms in HIV-Positive Men


Routes of transmission of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative organisms (MDRGN) are not completely understood. Since sexual transmission of MDRGN might represent a potential mode that has not been noticed so far, this study by Reinheimer, et al. (2017) evaluated transmission of MDRGN in HIV-positive men.

Between November 2014 and March 2016, the researchers retrospectively investigated the MDRGN prevalence in rectal swabs of n = 109 males tested positive for HIV (HP). These findings were compared to the MDRGN prevalence in n = 109 rectal swabs in age-matched males tested negative for HIV (HN) within the same period. According to the infection control protocol of University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany (UHF), patients admitted to intensive/intermediate care units have to be screened for MDRGN on day of admittance. Patients without HIV testing or MDRGN screening were excluded.

MDRGN prevalence in rectal swabs was significantly higher (p = 0.002) in male HP (23.9%; 95% confidence interval 16.2–32.9%) than in age-matched male HN (8.3%; 3.8–15.1%). In total, 35 MDRGN species were detected. The most frequent MDRGN species was Escherichia coli with resistance due to ESBL expression and additional resistance to fluoroquinolones with n = 25/35 (71.4%; 53.7–85.4%). Thereof, n = 19/26 (73.1%; 52.2–88.4%) were detected in HP and n = 6/9 (66.7%; 29.9–92.5%) in HN, respectively.

The researchers concluded that prevalence of MDRGN is significantly higher in male HIV positive than in male HIV negative individuals. This might indicate sexual transmission of MDRGN within the male HIV positive population. As treatment options in case of MRGN infections are limited, prevention of MDRGN transmission is strongly emphasized.

Reference: Reinheimer C, et al. Elevated prevalence of multidrug-resistant gram-negative organisms in HIV positive men. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2017;17:206

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