What causes of immune suppression should be included in the differential diagnoses of HIV infection?

Updated: Dec 02, 2019
  • Author: Nicholas John Bennett, MBBCh, PhD, MA(Cantab), FAAP; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection should be considered in any patient with unusual or recurrent serious infections without another cause, especially in those with risk factors for HIV infection.

Any of the opportunistic infections or cancers associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) can also occur in the absence of HIV infection, although they usually develop in patients with some other form of immune suppression or defect. The possibility of HIV infection must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Other causes of immune suppression (eg, chemotherapy, immune disorders, severe combined immune deficiency [SCID], severe malnutrition) should be considered. For example, a young adult with leukemia undergoing chemotherapy is at high risk for many opportunistic infections.

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