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Research Article

Clinical symptoms associated with seroconversion for HIV-1 among misusers of intravenous drugs: comparison with homosexual seroconverters and infected and non-infected intravenous drug misusers.

BMJ 1993; 306 doi: (Published 06 February 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;306:371
  1. G H Mientjes,
  2. E J van Ameijden,
  3. H M Weigel,
  4. J A van den Hoek,
  5. R A Coutinho
  1. Municipal Health Service, Department of Public Health and Environment, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


    OBJECTIVE--To study the clinical symptoms associated with seroconversion for HIV-1 among misusers of intravenous drugs. DESIGN--Case-control study in cohorts of drug misusers and homosexual men. SETTING--Outpatient clinic, Municipal Health Service, Amsterdam. SUBJECTS--Misusers of intravenous drugs from our prospective cohort who seroconverted for HIV. Controls were drug users positive for HIV, drug users negative for HIV, and homosexual men who had seroconverted. RESULTS--Five out of 18 (28%) drug users were admitted to hospital with bacterial pneumonia in the four to six months between their last visit at which they were HIV negative and their first visit when they were HIV positive. For comparison none of the 27 homosexual men who seroconverted for HIV, three out of 177 (2%) drug users negative for HIV, and 10 out of 112 (9%) drug users positive for HIV reported bacterial pneumonia. One out of the 18 drug users who seroconverted suffered from oesophageal candidiasis at the time of seroconversion. Other clinical symptoms did not differ between drug users who seroconverted and those who remained negative for HIV, probably due to the high background morbidity among the drug users. CONCLUSIONS--Seroconversion to HIV-1 among intravenous drug misusers is associated with bacterial pneumonia. Those drug users with previously negative test results for HIV who are admitted to hospital for bacterial pneumonia should be tested to detect primary infection with HIV-1.