What is AIDS?
What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
Do you have AIDS if you are HIV positive?
How do you find out if you have AIDS?
What are opportunistic infections?
Is there a cure for AIDS?

What are opportunistic infections?

Opportunistic infections are called this because they use the "opportunity" that you have a weak immune system to make you sick. When you’re HIV positive, an opportunistic infection is a specific illness that can only infect you when your immune system is weak.

If your CD4 count is low (200 or less), that means your immune system is very weak and it's very easy to get sick from an opportunistic infection. But even if your CD4 count is higher than 200, you can still get sick from one.

Examples of opportunistic infections:

  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP): a sickness of the lungs that can make you cough, lose your appetite, have breathing problems and get fevers.
  • oral hairy leukoplakia: a viral infection that gives you a hairy white coating on the inside of your mouth and on the sides of your tongue
  • thrush: a kind of yeast infection that can be in the mouth or around your penis or vagina

 
 
 
 
Hospital for Sick Children University of Toronto Positive Youth Outreach CATIE