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Opportunistic Infections
Nov 4, 1997

Dear Mr. Sowadsky,

Do opportunistic infections such as skin disorders (fungal, bacterial, noninfectious, dry skin, herpes) occur with recent HIV infection or do they take many years to develop as a result of a damaged immune system?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. By definition, an "Opportunistic Infection" is an infection that most often causes illness, when there is a damaged or weakened immune system. Damage to the immune system (due to HIV) does not usually occur until literally years after infection (on average about 10 years). Therefore, Opportunistic Diseases associated with HIV are not seen until an average of 10 years after infection. Opportunistic diseases are NOT normally seen with recent HIV infection, and are NOT associated with Acute Viral Syndrome. If a person with HIV is diagnosed with an Opportunistic Disease, by definition, they are considered to have full-blown AIDS.



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