n South African Medical Journal - Poor long-term outcomes for cryptococcal meningitis in rural South Africa : original article




To explore linkage to and retention in HIV care after an episode of cryptococcal meningitis (CM) in rural South Africa.

A retrospective case series of adult individuals (≥16 years old) with laboratory-confirmed CM from January - December 2007 at Hlabisa Hospital - a district hospital in northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Inpatient mortality and associated risk factors were analysed. The proportion alive and on antiretroviral therapy (ART) at 2 years was determined by linkage to the HIV treatment programme.
One hundred and four individuals were identified with laboratory diagnosis of CM; 74/104 (71.2%) with complete records were included in the analysis. Inpatient mortality was high (40.5%) and was significantly associated with reduced conscious level (aHR 3.09, 95% CI 1.30 - 7.33) and absence of headache (aHR 0.33 for headache, 95% CI 0.13 - 0.87). Only 8 individuals (10.8% of all study subjects) were alive and receiving ART 2 years after the CM episode.
Long-term outcomes of CM are poor in routine practice. Interventions to strengthen linkage to HIV treatment and care and continuation of secondary fluconazole prophylaxis are critical.


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