How do opportunistic pathogens affect the course of HIV infection?

Updated: May 07, 2020
  • Author: Shirin A Mazumder, MD, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michelle R Salvaggio, MD, FACP  more...
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Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can result in immunosuppression, allowing opportunistic pathogens to cause disease. Certain opportunistic infections (OIs) are associated with increases in viral load, which may accelerate HIV progression or increase transmission of HIV. [1, 2, 3] These opportunistic infections were a major source of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected patients prior to the development of effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) and still occur today, mostly in infected individuals who are not receiving ART. Opportunistic infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected patients; however, with the availability of ART, there is a decline in the incidence of opportunistic infections in both low- and high-income countries. [4, 5]

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