Opportunistic infections acquired in localised geographical regions of the world

G. Khai Lin Huang1, Daniel P. O’Brien1,2

  1. Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Victoria
  2. Department of Infectious Diseases, Barwon Health, Geelong

 Last reviewed: November 2019


There are number of lesser-known opportunistic infections presenting in people with HIV infection that may be acquired in localised geographical regions of the world (Table 1). Disease caused by these infections may occur at different stages of HIV disease, ranging from early stages of HIV infection to more advanced stages of immunodeficiency. They may be recently acquired following travel or reactivated following long-term latency in immigrants or travellers. It is important for Australian clinicians to be aware of these conditions when treating patients from different regions of the world, or when providing pre-travel health advice for patients with HIV infection. Travel is increasingly common amongst HIV-infected people (1-4).

Table 1: Opportunistic infections caused by organisms from different geographic regions of the world.



Causative organism

Typical geographic region

Endemic fungal infections


Talaromyces marneffei

Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, north-east India and southern parts of China


Histoplasma capsulatum

Central eastern USA, and Latin America


Coccidioides immitis

Geographically restricted arid and semi-arid areas in the Americas

Endemic parasitic infections


Leishmania spp. (numerous)

South and Central America, Africa, Asia and southern Europe

Chagas disease

Trypanosoma cruzi

Rural areas of Mexico, Central America and South America




falciparum, Plasmodium 

vivaxPlasmodium ovale, Plasmodium 

malaria and




Widespread in tropical and subtropical regions globally

Other opportunistic infections

Buruli ulcer

Mycobacterium ulcerans

West and central Africa, Asia, South America, the western Pacific and Australasia