Gastrointestinal parasitic infection is usually asymptomatic thus goes unnoticed and untreated for long periods of time, often resulting in other serious health complications. In HIV positive patients, the effects usually are more devastating owing to the fact that such patients are already immunocompromised. For this study, HIV positive patients were raised from the BSUTH STD/ART clinic records while HIV negative patients were recruited from other clinics by confirming their HIV status using Determine test strips to check for HIV antibodies; socio-demographic data was generated from questionnaires administered. Patients already placed on anti-helminths or anti-protozoan medicines were exempted from the study. Stool samples (n=550; 304 males 246 females) were examined for intestinal parasites using the standard parasitological procedures for direct wet mount and Formol-Ether Concentration methods. Gastrointestinal parasites were identified from 199 (36.2%) samples implying positive results for these infections: Giardia lamblia (3.8%), Entamoeba histolytica (8.9%), Ascaris lumbricoides (7.1%), Entamoeba coli (4.2%), Trichuris trichuria (3.3%), Strongyloides stercoralis (2.2%), Taenia sp. (1.8%), Trichomonas hominis (0.5%) and hookworms (2.9%). Out of this 199 only 55 (27.6%) were HIV positive; statistically there was a significant relationship between HIV status and the rate of parasitic infection (P<0.05). Personal hygiene practices, environmental sanitary conditions, overcrowding, limited access to clean potable water and poor drainage systems influenced gastrointestinal parasitic infection in both HIV positive and negative patients, HIV status may have increased intensity of gastrointestinal parasitic infection. The need for preventive awareness campaigns and mass chemoprophylaxis exercises cannot be overemphasized; government and private sector collaborations will have a wider coverage area and make a lot of impact.
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