Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is a genetic condition that can result in the premature breakdown of red blood cells, leading to anaemia.

Men are at a higher risk of this deficiency than are women, as one altered copy of this gene on the X chromosome is enough to cause the condition. For women, a mutation would have to appear on both copies of the gene.

Other risk factors include a family history of G6PD deficiency and African-American or Mediterranean descent. However, a recent study done in an urban US clinic found that 10% of black female patients versus 15% of male patients (all races) had this disorder.1

This would certainly be a consideration before initiating therapy for pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). It is also a concern for young children who are being given cotrimoxazole therapy (dapsone 2mg/kg dosed once daily can be substituted). 

On a more positive note, G6PD deficiency is believed to have a protective effect against the acquisition of malaria. Researchers have found that the geographical distribution of G6PD correlates with a lower incidence of malaria.2 This however may also result in an increased prevalence of G6PD deficiency than might ordinarily occur.3


  1. Tungsirapat M et al. Prevalence and significance of G6PD deficiency in patients of an urban HIV clinic. J Int Assoc Physicians AIDS Care 7(2):88-90, 2008
  2. Ruwende C et al. Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency and malaria. J Mol Med 76 (8):581-588, 1998
  3. Tripathy V and Reddy BM. Present status of understanding on the G6PD deficiency and natural selection. J Postgrad Med 53(3):193-202, 1997
Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.