Syphilitic uveitis in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus

  • Thi Ha Chau Tran
  • Nathalie Cassoux
  • Bahram Bodaghi
  • Christine Fardeau
  • Eric Caumes
  • Phuc LehoangEmail author
Clinical Investigation



This work investigates the incidence and clinical features of syphilitic uveitis in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Material and methods

We retrospectively reviewed syphilitic uveitis in patients coinfected with HIV that presented at a referral center between July 2001 and November 2003.


Twelve patients (20 eyes) were included. The ocular manifestations of syphilis led to the discovery of HIV-1 seropositivity in three patients. All patients were male and homosexual. One patient has been previously treated for syphilis with benzathine penicillin G. One patient presented with anterior uveitis and 11 patients had panuveitis or posterior uveitis. Necrotizing retinitis was noted in seven eyes (35%), posterior placoid chorioretinitis in six eyes (30%) and optic nerve involvement in five eyes (25%). Of nine patients with available cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) studies, seven (77.8%) had CSF abnormalities. Eleven patients were treated with intravenous penicillin G and one with intravenous ceftriaxone sodium. One patient required a second course of antibiotics to control uveitis. Ocular inflammation decreased and visual acuity improved in all nine patients for whom follow-up was available after treatment.


Manifestations of syphilitic uveitis in HIV-infected patients are multiple, with high frequencies of posterior uveitis, posterior placoid chorioretinitis, necrotizing retinitis and optic nerve involvement. Syphilitic uveitis in HIV-infected patients seems to have a more severe course and may relapse despite high-dose intravenous penicillin therapy.


Antibiotics Homosexual Human immunodeficiency virus infection Syphilis Retinitis Treponema pallidum Uveitis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thi Ha Chau Tran
    • 1
  • Nathalie Cassoux
    • 1
  • Bahram Bodaghi
    • 1
  • Christine Fardeau
    • 1
  • Eric Caumes
    • 2
  • Phuc Lehoang
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Service d’OphtalmologieGroupe Hospitalier Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  2. 2.Service de Maladies InfectieusesGroupe Hospitalier Pitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of OpthalmologyPitié-SalpêtrièreParisFrance

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