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recently infected-- risks for toxo & salmonellosis?
Jun 25, 2001

t4 629 22 bDNA 72K (April 27) on Sustiva/Combivir since then Infected Feb 1, 2001

I was told by my doctor to get rid of my cat and peel fruit and cook meat well. Are these precautions meant for all HIV+s or only those with immunodeficiency (ie t4 less than 500) ? Do you know what percentage of those recently diagnosed with AIDS had been on HAART? How many deaths due to AIDS in 1999 and 2000 (it may be too soon to tell). THANKS

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Your doctor was trying to keep you from getting infected with Toxoplasma and Salmonella, although some of the recommendations were misguided. Kittens, not gorwn cats, are the primary carriers of toxo organisms which are excreted as one-celled cysts in their stools. Even if your cat were still a kitten, you could avoid contact with toxo by wearing gloves to change the litter box and washing your hands well, or by asking someone else to do this for you. Undercooked meat and unwashed fruit and vegetables can carry the risk of Salmonella infection. HIV- people can also be infected with these 2 organisms, so HIV+s can certainly encounter them and get infected at any CD4 cell count. Since toxo is primarily a reactivation disease-- that is, it is dormant in your body and then becomes active when your immune system is sufficiently damaged-- it does not become a clinical problem until CD4 cells are below 200 and udually below 100. Salmonella is aggressive enought that it can make anyone sick at any time, although it can be harder to treat in AIDS patients. You should use common sense in food preparation and storage just as everyone else should, whether they are HIV+ or HIV-. Everyone should wash fresh fruit and vegetables before eating them, and everyone should take care not to use the same utensils and plates used for raw meat, chicken or eggs for other foods without washing them first. I think the extremes of behavior suggested to you are unnecessary.

I don't have specific data on AIDS deaths from 2000, but you can check the CDC website at where updates are posted as they are available.

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