Rates of skin and soft tissue infections declined by 40% over five years in the Houston, Texas, public health system, researchers reported in Clinical Infectious Diseases. However, such infections remained common: A total of 2,202 such infections were treated in 8,597 people receiving HIV primary care between 2009 and 2014.
Twenty-three percent of the 2,202 infections were cultured, and 70% of the 331 S. aurens isolates with antibiotic susceptibilities were found to be resistant to methicillin (i.e., were MRSA), a proportion that remained stable over the study period.
Low CD4 cell count and high viral load predicted infection. An inverse relationship was also found between infection risk and being a Spanish-speaking Latinx person. Study authors theorized that this could be due to separate social networks within that community which limit exposure to bacteria from the wider population; alternatively, they hypothesized it may be because Spanish speakers are less likely to seek health care for such infections and instead self-treat with antibiotics received informally.
The study authors cautioned that their research relied on language data taken from medical records that was intended to flag the need for translation services, which may not accurately reflect a person’s preferred language. They called for further study into the reasons for skin and soft tissue infections in people living with HIV.