PCP is caused by a fungus called Pneumocystis jiroveci. A healthy immune system can control the fungus. However, in HIV+ people with CD4 cell counts below 200, Pneumocystis can be a problem.
PCP has been the most common opportunistic infection and the most common pneumonia in HIV+ people since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. While PCP used to be fatal for many HIV+ people, it is now preventable and treatable. Drugs to prevent PCP are recommended for all HIV+ people with CD4 cell counts below 200. Taking drugs to prevent disease is called prophylaxis.
Anyone with these symptoms should see a health care provider immediately.
Bacteria that cause pneumonia are commonly found in the nose and throat. In HIV+ people with weakened immune systems, especially HIV+ women, the bacteria can multiply and work their way into the lungs, causing pneumonia. The most common bacteria to cause pneumonia in the US are Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
This article was provided by The Well Project. Visit The Well Project's Web site to learn more about their resources and initiatives for women living with HIV. The Well Project shares its content with TheBody.com to ensure all people have access to the highest quality treatment information available. The Well Project receives no advertising revenue from TheBody.com or the advertisers on this site. No advertiser on this site has any editorial input into The Well Project's content.
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