Related Health Issues

Basic Information

As HIV attacks the human immune system, the immune system weakens over time and becomes more susceptible to opportunistic infections (OIs). Opportunistic infections are generally illnesses that don’t make people with a healthy immune system sick or don’t occur as often. There are many kinds of opportunistic infections, including other viruses, bacterial infections, and some types of cancers. Even common colds can become more dangerous and the flu is considered a serious condition in persons with HIV/AIDS.

To name just a few, common HIV/AIDS related health issues include:

  • Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Hepatitis C
  • Cryptoccocal meninigitis
  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumosia (PCP)
  • Cryptosporidiosis (crypto)
  • Toxoplasmosis (toxo)

HIV/AIDS can make treating opportunistic infections more difficult. The longer an individual’s immune system can be kept healthy through diet, exercise, and working with health care providers regarding making treatment decisions and adherence to treatment regimens, the less likely opportunistic infections may occur.

For more information, please visit the Living with HIV/AIDS brochure from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic Resources

AIDS and Cancer (National Cancer Institute, NIH)
Provides information resources for the treatment of AIDS-related cancers and treatment research information, both for patients and for health professionals. En español

AIDS and Infections (MedlinePlus, NIH)
Because HIV suppresses the immune system, people living with HIV/AIDS are more susceptible to opportunistic infections and other disease. This resource is compiled by the National Library of Medicine and provides links to materials regarding AIDS and AIDS-related opportunistic infections. Materials are organized by categories and topics.

Clinical Guidelines (AIDSinfo)
Guidelines for antiretroviral treatment, maternal-child transmission, post-exposure prophylaxis, management of HIV complications, and testing are available from this resource. The clinical guidelines are updated regularly by a panel of HIV experts.

Living With HIV/AIDS – Brochures (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
This resource contains a series of brochures from the CDC to help people living with HIV/AIDS maintain their health and avoid a number of opportunistic infections and co-infections.

Related Topics

The topics below from provide additional resources about the health issues related to HIV/AIDS.

  • Overview
    Provides basic information and resources about the treatment and care for those individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Basic Health and Nutrition Tips
    Provides resources about basic health and nutrition for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Drugs and Treatments
    Provides resources about the drugs and treatment regimens for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Treatment for Related Diseases
    Provides resources about disease related to HIV/AIDS and treatment and care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Mental Health and Substance Abuse
    Provides resources about mental health and substance abuse for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Frequent Questions
    Provides answers to frequent questions about treatment and care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.
  • Other Treatment and Care Resources
    Provides additional resources about treatment and care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

Last revised: 05/28/2008