HIV may cause syphilitic retinitis

February 3, 2011

An increase in HIV-related syphilis has been linked with a rise in ophthalmic manifestations

An increase in HIV-related syphilis has been linked with a rise in ophthalmic manifestations, suggests a recent study from Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology.

A team led by Dr Edward H. Hughes, Sydney Eye Hospital, Sydney, Australia, studied 13 syphilitic uveitis patients. Six were HIV-positive and 7 were HIV-negative. In case of the occurrence of viral retinitis 6 patients were treated with vitreous tap and intravitreal foscarnet.

The most frequent occurring ocular disease was peripheral retinitis panuveitis with 100% of HIV-positive patients and 14% of HIV-negative patients suffering from it. Other diseases included anterior uveitis, vitritis, multifocal choroiditis, scleritis and papillitis.

It was concluded that HIV infection appears to accommodate retinitis. The study also stresses the importance of the consideration of syphilis when diagnosing ocular diseases.