Common Opportunistic Infections & How to Treat Them

Those with advanced HIV infection are vulnerable to infections and malignancies. These infections take advantage of the weakened immune system. They are commonly called "opportunistic infections". Opportunistic Infections are the most common cause of death for people with HIV/AIDS.

If a patient develops an opportunistic infection, their doctor may recommend taking extra medications. Doctors often prescribe preventive drugs to keep an opportunistic infection from starting. Sometimes, maintenance drugs must be taken for life to prevent them from returning.

Below are a few examples of common opportunistic infections and medications commonly used to treat them.

  • Cryptococcal meningitis (brain infection caused by a fungus) is often treated with Fungizone (amphotericin B) via IV injection. Diflucan (flucanazole) is often prescribed to be prevent recurrence.
  • Cytomegalovirus (virus that causes eye infections) can be treated with Cytovene (ganciclovir), Foscavir (foscarnet) or Vistide (cidofovir).
  • Hepatitis C (viral infection that can damage the liver) is treated with a comination of ribavirin and pegalyated interferon injection.
  • Pneumonia (caused by fungal infection) will be treated or prevented with bactrim or Septra , pentamidine or mepron.
  • Tuberculosis can be treated with isoniazid, rifampin, or pyrazinamide.