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June 1992

Acute Syphilitic Meningitis in a Man With Seropositivity for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Normal Numbers of CD4 T Lymphocytes

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of Infectious Disease (DiNubile and Baxter) and Neurology (Mirsen), Department of Medicine, Cooper Hospital/University Medical Center, UMDNJ/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Camden (NJ).

Arch Intern Med. 1992;152(6):1326-1327. doi:10.1001/archinte.1992.00400180162028

Coinfection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Treponema pallidum may predispose to accelerated neurosyphilis. The mechanism underlying this interaction is undefined, but usually presumed to result from HIVinduced supression of cell-mediated immunity as reflected in the CD4 T-lymphocyte count. We report a patient infected with HIV who developed aggressive neurosyphilis despite a CD4 count of 1000/mm3. The CD4 cells constituted 17% of his total lymphocytes. Our case suggests that while severe neurosyphilis can occur in HIV-infected persons with normal absolute CD4 counts, the percentage of CD4 cells may be a better indicator of the risk of neurosyphilis. These observations are relevant to designing treatment strategies for patients coinfected with HIV and Tpallidum based on measures of their immunocompetence.

(Arch Intern Med. 1992;152:1324-1326)

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