Having HIV/AIDS weakens your body's immune system. Your immune system normally fights germs that enter your body. When HIV/AIDS makes it weak, it can't fight germs well. This can lead to serious infections that don't often affect healthy people. These are called opportunistic infections (OIs).
There are many types of OIs. Tuberculosis and a serious related disease, Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) are bacterial infections. Viral infections include cytomegalovirus (CMV) and hepatitis C. Fungi cause thrush (candidiasis), cryptococcal meningitis, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) and histoplasmosis, and parasites cause crypto (cryptosporidiosis) and toxo (toxoplasmosis).
Having HIV/AIDS can make any infection harder to treat. People with AIDS are also more likely to suffer complications of common illnesses such as the flu.
The good news is that you can help prevent infections by taking your HIV/AIDS medicines. Other things that can help include practicing safe sex, washing your hands well and often and cooking your food well.
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Food Safety for People with HIV/AIDS (Food and Drug Administration) - PDF
- HIV and Immunizations (AIDSinfo) Also in Spanish
- Preventing Opportunistic Infections in HIV (Beyond the Basics) (UpToDate)
- Sex and Prevention Concerns for Positive People (Project Inform)
- HIV and Rheumatic Disease (American College of Rheumatology)
- HIV and Viral Hepatitis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- HIV/AIDS and Fungal Infections (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- HIV/AIDS and the Flu (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- HIV/AIDS Coinfection (Hepatitis B Foundation)
- Mouth Problems and HIV (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research) Also in Spanish
- Pneumocystis Infections: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in Spanish
- Role of STD Detection and Treatment in HIV Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Tuberculosis (AIDS.gov)
- Tuberculosis: The Connection between TB and HIV (the AIDS Virus) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Valley Fever (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Hairy Leukoplakia (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research)
Videos and Tutorials
- HIVAIDS - Opportunistic Infections (Healthy Roads Media)
Statistics and Research
- HIV-Associated TB: Facts 2013 (World Health Organization) - PDF
- ClinicalTrials.gov: AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections (National Institutes of Health)