Background: Meningitis is a leading cause of death among patients living with HIV.
There is no adequate tracking of the disease occurrence, distribution and etiologic agents among
this risk group in Egypt, although the pattern could differ from that of the general population.
Objectives: We aimed to describe the spatio-temporal distribution of meningitis in HIV patients in
a region of Northern Egypt over 18 years (2000-2018).
Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of 352 adult HIV patients admitted to a tertiary care
fever hospital with neurological manifestations suggesting meningitis. We retrieved from inpatient
records all data relevant to patient demographics, clinical presentation, diagnostic work-up, results
of laboratory investigations (CSF, blood, imaging), definitive diagnosis, and in-hospital mortality.
Results: The overall trend of over 2 decades showed fluctuating incidence of meningitis in HIV infected
patients and increasing spread into rural areas, with a uniform circulation among adult
males. Cryptococcal meningitis was the most common etiologic agent (26.9%) and was associated
with worse outcomes. Focal neurological deficit (38.5%), cranial nerve involvement (48.1%) were
common features in TB Meningitis. The mortality was high (56.8%) and was significantly associated
with low CD4+ count, advanced AIDs clinical stage and the presence of co-morbidities.
Conclusion: Despite the availability of cART, meningitis, particularly cryptococcal, is common in
HIV/AIDS population in Egypt. Continued efforts are desperately needed to improve the outcomes
of HIV-infected patients.