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mycobacterium avium complex
Aug 14, 2004

Hello, my brother has colon cancer and he also has full blown aids and now doctors have told our family that he has the mac I am not too clear as to what this disease mean and is their a cure for this as well will it complicate what he is currently going through please help me to understand the mac I keep getting conflicting anwers that if he has the mac that his survival chance may be in weeks time or sooner can he be help?

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your question.

There is a lot on TheBody about MAC infection (Mycobacterium avium complex) (do a quick search, you'll find more). In short, MAC is a bacterial infection that affects the lymph nodes, blood stream and bone marrow of persons with advanced AIDS. There are treatments for MAC (usually three antibiotics); the best "cure" for MAC is treating HIV and getting the immune system to recover. It's pretty unusual to see MAC activity in persons with CD4 counts above 100-150 cells.

So, the important thing here is to simulanateously treat both the HIV (AIDS) and the MAC.

Best wishes, let us know if we can help with additional questions. BY



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