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Resistance toward infections during ARS
Jun 6, 2001

Dr:

Is the body more resistant toward developing infections unrelated to hiv (for example, a sinus or urinary infection)during ARS, or less so?

Response from Dr. Little

During acute HIV infection, which is often associated with an acute retroviral syndrome (ARS), the body is often MORE susceptibile to other types of infections. This is related to a transient drop in the CD4 cell count (and often total white blood cell count), which means that the cells that typically fight infections are lower than usual. The most common types of infections that I have seen during this period are oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections (both are non-serious yeast infections of moist membranes), herpes zoster (a reactivation of chicken pox resulting in a painful skin rash) and other forms of viral mouth ulcers. Most of these infections will resolve as the CD4 cell count improves (which it always does) within the first 1-2 months after initial infection. Occasionally, specific therapy may be indicated to speed up the healing process.


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