Specific Behaviors Predict Staphylococcus aureus Colonization and Skin and Soft Tissue Infections Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Persons

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Abstract

Background. Few data exist on the incidence and risk factors of Staphylococcus aureus colonization and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) among patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Methods. Over a 2-year period, we prospectively evaluated adults infected with HIV for incident S aureus colonization at 5 body sites and SSTIs. Cox proportional hazard models using time-updated covariates were performed.

Results. Three hundred twenty-two participants had a median age of 42 years (interquartile range, 32–49), an HIV duration of 9.4 years (2.7–17.4), and 58% were on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Overall, 102 patients (32%) became colonized with S aureus with an incidence rate of 20.6 (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.8–25.0) per 100 person-years [PYs]. Predictors of colonization in the final multivariable model included illicit drug use (hazard ratios [HR], 4.26; 95% CI, 1.33–13.69) and public gym use (HR 1.66, 95% CI, 1.04–2.66), whereas antibacterial soap use was protective (HR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.32–0.78). In a separate model, perigenital colonization was associated with recent syphilis infection (HR, 4.63; 95% CI, 1.01–21.42). Fifteen percent of participants developed an SSTI (incidence rate of 9.4 cases [95% CI, 6.8–12.7] per 100 PYs). Risk factors for an SSTI included incident S aureus colonization (HR 2.52; 95% CI, 1.35–4.69), public shower use (HR, 2.59; 95% CI, 1.48–4.56), and hospitalization (HR 3.54; 95% CI, 1.67–7.53). The perigenital location for S aureus colonization was predictive of SSTIs. Human immunodeficiency virus-related factors (CD4 count, HIV RNA level, and HAART) were not associated with colonization or SSTIs.

Conclusions. Specific behaviors, but not HIV-related factors, are predictors of colonization and SSTIs. Behavioral modifications may be the most important strategies in preventing S aureus colonization and SSTIs among persons infected with HIV.

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