What is the relationship between allergies and HIV? Please answer doctor....

Question

Hello Dr. Frascino,

You are the man!Seriously. You are so badass and so cool. I find your humor and outlook on life so refreshing and inspirational. You are the best.

Here is my question....

I find VERY conflicting information on this site regarding allergies and HIV status. Some experts say that there is NO LINK between HIV and ALLERGIES. Others say that people with HIV are more prone to allergies.

What is the truth Dr. Frascino?

Answer

Hey there,

You think I'm "so badass and so cool"??? Hmm. I'll bet you say that to all the cyber-experts now, don't 'cha?

The link between "allergies" and HIV status isn't all that straightforward, because "allergies" is a broad term and HIV disease runs the spectrum from asymptomatic with reasonably intact immune integrity to severely symptomatic with a profoundly deficient immune system.

"Allergy" is an abnormal reaction of the immune system that occurs in response to otherwise harmless substances, such as grass, pollen, dust or cat dander. Most folks are not bothered by these substances, but if someone is allergic to them, their immune system kicks in and can cause all sorts of trouble, from hives to asthma to anaphylaxis.

HIVers do have a higher chance of having "allergic" reactions to some things, such as an antibiotic called Bactrim. Since the immune system is attacked by HIV, it can affect how it functions. This may result in some abnormal responses. However, in general, a bit of animal dander- or ragweed pollen-induced sneezing is not a major issue for most of us coexisting with the virus. I hope that answers your question.

Happy Holidays.

Dr. Bob