Introduction: Intestinal and blood protozoans cause morbidity and mortality in both pregnant women and developing foetuses worldwide. It constitutes a major health problem in many tropical areas in Africa. This study assessed the prevalence of intestinal and blood protozoans' parasitic load and their risk factors among pregnant women visiting antenatal care at Tafo Hospital, Ghana from November 2016 to January 2017. Method: A pilot cross-sectional study was conducted among consented pregnant women who visited antenatal care at Tafo Government Hospital, Kumasi Ghana. Structured questionnaires were administered to obtain socio-demographic data, knowledge on protozoan infections, and their risk factors among study participants. A stool sample was obtained from each participant for the microscopic examination of the intestinal protozoa. Venous blood was taken from participants for the detection of Plasmodium and Toxoplasma gondii infections. Wet mount and the faecal protozoan concentrated method were done for the identification of intestinal parasites. Blood films and serological examination for malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) were done for identification of Plasmodium parasites while an Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used for detecting the antibodies of T. gondii among participants. Data were analyzed using statistical packages for the social sciences (SPSS). Results: The mean age of the study participants was 27.83, and ranges from 18 to 40 years. The majority of the participants (82.2%) had never experienced stillbirth nor spontaneous abortion. Intestinal parasites were found in 36.7% of participants. Giardia lamblia (28.1%), Cryptosporidium parvum (5.3%), and Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (3.3%) were among the intestinal protozoans detected. T. gondii antibodies were detected by high levels of immunoglobulins, resulting in IgG (48.0%) and IgM (11.3%) being found among participants, with 7.3% testing positive for both IgM and IgG. The prevalence of malaria infection among the study participants was 2.7%. The consumption of raw or cooked vegetables had significant influence on their intestinal and blood protozoan infections status (p = 0.004) (OR = 0.32, CI = 0.12-0.86). There was a significant association between Hb levels and malaria (p = 0.014) and that of intestinal protozoans (p = 0.035). Conclusion: The prevalence of intestinal protozoans and blood protozoans such as T. gondii were high and therefore effective measures should be put in place to reduce the infectivity. Environmental hygiene should be improved and education by relevant agencies should be intensified on the possible transmission of intestinal and blood parasite infections given the possible role of these infections in adverse pregnancy outcomes.
BACKGROUND: Viral suppression remains the most desired outcome in the management of patients with Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and this can be achieved by an effective Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). However, some patients who achieve viral suppression may experience viral rebound with dire consequence. We evaluated viral suppression and rebound and their associated factors among adult patients on ART in Kumasi, Ghana. METHODS: This hospital-based retrospective study was conducted at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana. We reviewed the medical records of 720 HIV patients on ART. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS Version 26.0 and GraphPad prism version 8.0. p < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Proportions of patients with viral suppression and viral rebound were 76.1% and 21.0% respectively. Being diagnosed at WHO stage I [aOR = 11.40, 95% CI (3.54-36.74), p < 0.0001], having good adherence to ART [aOR = 5.09, 95% CI (2.67-9.73), p < 0.0001], taking Nevirapine-based regimen [aOR = 4.66, 95% CI (1.20-18.04), p = 0.0260] and increasing duration of treatment (p < 0.0001) were independently associated with higher odds of viral suppression. However, being diagnosed at WHO stage II (aOR = 7.39, 95% CI 2.67-20.51; p < 0.0001) and stage III (aOR = 8.62, 95% CI 3.16-23.50; p < 0.0001), having poor adherence (aOR = 175.48, 95% CI 44.30-695.07; p < 0.0001), recording baseline suppression value of 20-49 copies/mL (aOR = 6.43, 95% CI 2.72-15.17; p < 0.0001) and being treated with Zidovudine/Lamivudine/Efavirenz (aOR = 6.49, 95% CI 1.85-22.79; p = 0.004) and Zidovudine/Lamivudine/Nevirapine (aOR = 18.68, 95% CI 1.58-220.90; p = 0.02) were independently associated with higher odds of viral rebound. CONCLUSION: Approximately 76% viral suppression rate among HIV patients on ART in Kumasi falls below the WHO 95% target by the year 2030. Choice of ART combination, drug adherence, WHO clinical staging and baseline viral load are factors associated with suppression or rebound. These clinical characteristics of HIV patients must be monitored concurrently with the viral load.