Newly HIV poz..... with Pre-exisiting Immuno Gamma Globulinemia

Question

I was just diagnosed with HIV a few days ago. I was most likely infected 4 months ago.

I have a pre-existing condition called ImmunoGammaGlobulinemia. It's an Immune deficiency that I have had since childhood. It makes me susceptible to cold and respiratory infections more than anything (Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Sinusitis). My immure system takes longer to identify bacteria and virus' in my system and when it attacks any bacteria its usually a day late and a dollar short. Its not as bad as it sounds I'm usually very healthy and I am not constantly in fear of getting sick.

My treatment for this condition is a monthly infusion of PolyGam. Which is a plasma based product that helps bring my immune system up to normal levels. My doctor feels that the infusions are all I need to take care of the anemia.

My questions are how will this Pre-existing condition affect my HIV status? Am I far more vulnerable than most patients? Is there any literature or does anyone know of any study where people are in the same situation as me?

Answer

Hi!

I think there might be some confusion regarding your underlying medical condition. Most likely, you have a condition called hypogammaglobulinemia. Gammaglobulins are proteins (antibodies) in our blood that helps us fight off certain infections. If your immune system does not produce enough of these antibodies, or if the antibodies don't function effectively, we call that hypo(low)gammaglobulinemia. The treatment is monthly infusions of intravenous gammaglobulin. Essentially, this is derived form pooled serum from blood donors. These products, such as PolyGam, provide you with "passive" antibodies, essentially antibodies produced by other people against a wide variety of common infections. This condition and its treatment really do not have anything to do with anemia. Anemia is a low number of red blood cells, which is quite different from a low number of antibodies (proteins). Now with that all cleared up, what about your question? Are you in for more problems with your HIV disease than someone who doesn't have hypogammaglobulinemia? Not as long as you continue to get your intravenous gammaglobulin infusions and keep your antibody levels in the normal range. I don't know of any specific studies involving HIV progression and hypogammaglobulinemia, but I can tell you that we use intravenous gammaglobulin to treat infants with HIV disease. The antibodies help them fight off common infections.

I hope this helps clarify your situation. Best of luck.

Dr. Bob