Progressive disseminated histoplasmosis, caused by H. capsulatum
, is a life-threatening illness and is an AIDS-defining opportunistic infection. It is neglected, worryingly under-diagnosed, and often misdiagnosed as cancer or tuberculosis with fatal consequences. Globally, over 100,000 cases of disseminated histoplasmosis have been estimated. In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that disseminated histoplasmosis is a significant cause of mortality in AIDS patients. Through the rigorous efforts of the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI) and partners, in 2019, the Histoplasma
antigen test was included on the 2nd
Edition of the WHO List of Essential Diagnostics. The drugs used in the treatment of histoplasmosis (amphotericin B and itraconazole) are on the WHO Essential Medicine List. The Manaus Declaration
on histoplasmosis in the Americas and the Caribbean, where histoplasmosis kills more people with HIV than tuberculosis, advocates for universal access to rapid testing for histoplasmosis and availability of essential drugs for the treatment of histoplasmosis in every country by 2025. Hyperendemic areas are present in the Americas, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. In conclusion, histoplasmosis remains an important clinical and public health problem. To reduce HIV-associated mortality, disseminated histoplasmosis must be addressed through advocacy, increased awareness, and universal access to essential diagnostics and antifungal agents.
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