HIV Protease Inhibitors: Effect on the Opportunistic Protozoan Parasites

Yenisey Alfonso*, Lianet Monzote
Parasitology Department, Institute of Tropical Medicine “Pedro Kourí”, Cuba

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© Alfonso and Monzote; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this autor at the Departamento de Parasitología, Instituto de Medicina Tropical “Pedro Kourí”, Apartado Postal No. 601, Marianao 13, Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba; Tel: +53 7 202 5061; Fax: +53 7 204 6051; E-mail:


The impact of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in the natural history of AIDS disease has been allowed to prolong the survival of people with HIV infection, particularly whose with increased HIV viral load. Additionally, the antiretroviral therapy could exert a certain degree of protection against parasitic diseases. A number of studies have been evidenced a decrease in the incidence of opportunistic parasitic infections in the era of HAART. Although these changes have been attributed to the restoration of cell-mediated immunity, induced by either non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors or HIV protease inhibitors, in combination with at least two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors included in HAART, there are evidence that the control of these parasitic infections in HIV-positive persons under HAART, is also induced by the inhibition of the proteases of the parasites. This review focuses on the principal available data related with therapeutic HIV-protease inhibitors and their in vitro and in vivo effects on the opportunistic protozoan parasites.

Keywords: Protease inhibitors, antiretrovirals, therapeutic agents, protozoa, parasite.