Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

A Smart + Strong Site
Subscribe to:
E-newsletters
POZ magazine
JOIN AIDSMEDS YouTube
Opportunistic Infections (OIs)
en español

Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

Remember our previous section titled "What is AIDS & HIV?"...

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is a condition caused by HIV. This virus attacks the immune system, the body's "security force" that fights off infections. When the immune system breaks down, you lose this protection and can develop many serious, often deadly infections and cancers. These are called "opportunistic infections" (OIs) because they take advantage of the body's weakened defenses.

In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is responsible for collecting data on the number of people with AIDS. This is not the same thing as the number of people living with HIV. Remember, AIDS includes the words "immune deficiency". Since people can live with HIV an average of 10 years—without effective treatment—before their immune systems become seriously impaired, AIDS is really just an advanced stage of an HIV infection.

The CDC uses specific criteria for determining when a person living with HIV progresses to AIDS. One thing they look at is CD4 cell counts: if a person's CD4 count falls below 200, then they have officially progressed to AIDS. Another thing they look for are OIs: if an HIV-positive individual is diagnosed with an opportunistic infection that's included on the CDC's list of over two dozen possible HIV-related OIs, then they are diagnosed with AIDS.

Many OIs can be prevented and/or treated. In fact, a lot of the AIDS research you hear about has been done to find treatments or cures for specific OIs, and not just looking for drugs to stop HIV.

Lesson Listed below are lessons about each of the major OIs & cancers that can occur during late-stage HIV disease, along with possible treatments:

Bacterial Infections

Malignancies (Cancers)

Viral Infections

Fungal Infections

Protozoal Infections

Neurological Conditions

Other Conditions and Complications


back next

Last Revised: January 07, 2011

This content is written by the POZ and AIDSmeds editorial team. For more information, please visit our "About Us" page.

TREATMENT NEWS
Research updates

> More Treatment News

Search for news stories about this topic

Lesson Index
Collapse All

TALK TO US
Tell us what you think
Poll
Have you visited your health care provider within the last 4 months?
Yes
No


Survey
AIDSmeds Reader Survey

more surveys

[ about AIDSmeds | AIDSmeds advisory board | our staff | advertising policy | advertise/contact us]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.