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HIV (Aids)
Apr 27, 2010

What are the types of infection that HIV(Aids) can cause?

Response from Dr. McGowan

HIV itself infects CD4 lymphocytes as its main target but can also infect other white blood cells (macrophages, monocytes), cells in the brain and kidney.

By infecting CD4 lymphocytes and causing a decrease in their number, HIV can cause an imbalance in the immune system. When this imbalance is severe (usually when the CD4 count drops below 200) we call this AIDS. If this imbalance is not corrected by suppressing the virus with HAART therapy a person can be at risk for many types of infectios: bacteria (pneumonias), viruses (CMV, EBV, HPV, HHV-8, herpes, varicella outbreaks), mycobacteria (tuberculosis, MAI), funguses (cryptococcus, aspergillous, histoplasmosis, coccidiomycosis, pneumocystis), parasites (toxoplasmosis, cryptosporidiosis), etc, etc.... The list is very long because it is a matter of the state of the immune system and what the person may have been exposed to...you become more vulnerable to these infections which usually do not cause any trouble if the immune system is intact. Certain infections like TB are particularly dangerous because they can cause illness even in people without AIDS, so it can be much worse in a person with AIDS.

Hope this helps make it more clear.

Best, Joe



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