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AIDS

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines an HIV+ person with a CD4 cell count of 200 or less as having AIDS. The CDC has also developed a list of more than 20 opportunistic infections (Ols) that are considered AIDS-defining conditions (see below). If you have HIV and one or more of these OIs, you have a diagnosis of AIDS.

HIV causes illness and problems for you by attacking your immune system. When this happens, other diseases and conditions may occur because of your weakened immune system or because of the long term affect of HIV on your body. Some are Opportunistic Infections (also called AIDS defining illnesses), some are toxicities or side effects related to anti-HIV drugs, while others are diseases and conditions that may happen to people with or without HIV.

This list comes from a government report and contains medical terms. If you have any questions, contact a treatment educator at a local AIDS service organization or call an AIDS information line such as the Project Inform National HIV/AIDS Treatment Hotline at 800-822-7422.


  • Candidiasis of bronchi, trachea, or lungs
  • Candidiasis, esophageal
  • Cervical cancer, invasive
  • Coccidioidomycosis, disseminated or extrapulmonary
  • Cryptococcosis, extrapulmonary
  • Cryptosporidiosis, chronic intestinal (greater than 1 month's duration)
  • Cytomegalovirus disease (other than liver, spleen, or nodes)
  • Cytomegalovirus retinitis (with loss of vision
  • Encephalopathy, HIV-related
  • Herpes simplex: chronic ulcer(s) (greater than 1 month's duration); or bronchitis, pneumonitis, or esophagitis
  • Histoplasmosis, disseminated or extrapulmonary
  • Isosporiasis, chronic intestinal (greater than 1 month's duration)
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Lymphoma, Burkitt's (or equivalent term)
  • Lymphoma, immunoblastic (or equivalent term)
  • Lymphoma, primary, of brain
  • Mycobacterium avium complex or M. kansasii, disseminated or extrapulmonary
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis, any site (pulmonary or extrapulmonary) Mycobacterium, other species or unidentified species, disseminated or extrapulmonary
  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
  • Pneumonia, recurrent
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
  • Salmonella septicemia, recurrent
  • Toxoplasmosis of brain
  • Wasting syndrome due to HIV
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