Brief Report: Geographical Variation in Prevalence of Cryptococcal Antigenemia among HIV-Infected, Treatment-Naive Patients in Nigeria: A Multicenter Cross-Sectional Study

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Objective: Worldwide, HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis affects approximately 1 million persons and causes 600,000 deaths each year mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Limited data exist on cryptococcal meningitis and antigenemia in Nigeria, and most studies are geographically restricted. We determined the prevalence of cryptococcal antigenemia (CrAg) among HIV-infected, treatment-naive individuals in Nigeria. Design/Methods: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional study across 4 geographic regions in Nigeria. We performed CrAg testing using a lateral flow immunoassay on archived whole-blood samples collected from HIV-infected participants at US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)-supported sites selected to represent the major geographical and ethnic diversity in Nigeria. Eligible samples were collected from consenting patients (>15 years) naive to antiretroviral therapy with CD4 + count less than 200 cells per cubic millimeter and were stored in an -80°C freezer. Results: A total of 2752 stored blood samples were retrospectively screened for CrAg. Most of the samples were from participants aged 30-44 years (57.6%), and 1570 (57.1%) were from women. The prevalence of CrAg positivity in specimens with CD4 <200 cells per cubic millimeter was 2.3% (95% confidence interval: 1.8% to 3.0%) and varied significantly across the 4 regions (P < 0.001). At 4.4% (3.2% to 5.9%), the South East contained the highest prevalence. Conclusions: The significant regional variation in CrAg prevalence found in Nigeria should be taken into consideration as plans are made to integrate routine screening into clinical care for HIV-infected patients. Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.