Severe opportunistic infections in AIDS patients with late-stage disease

Alan R Lifson, R. Olson, S. G. Roberts, M. E. Poscher, W. L. Drew, M. A. Conant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Clinicians caring for patients who have acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) need to be aware of the wide variety of infectious diseases that can occur. Although Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) is the most common AIDS-defining infection, other opportunistic infections associated with advanced immunodeficiency can develop after an initial diagnosis. Methods: To ascertain AIDS-defining opportunistic infections that developed at the time of or after an AIDS diagnosis, an intensive chart review was conducted for 45 homosexual men with AIDS who died from 1990 through 1992. Time to death after first occurrence of these infections was also determined. Results: The most common opportunistic infection occurring as the initial AIDS-defining illness was PCP (31 percent). The most common opportunistic infection occurring as a secondary disease was cytomegalovirus (CMV) disease (40 percent), followed by disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex (33 percent) and invasive candidiasis (31 percent). Each of these latter infections was associated with a poor prognosis (median time to death ≤ 8 months). Conclusions: Diseases caused by CMV, disseminated M. avium complex, and invasive candidiasis were uncommon presenting manifestations of AIDS but were common secondary diseases that tended to be associated with limited survival. With increasing survival and a declining incidence of PCP as a result of medical therapy, other severe opportunistic infections might become increasingly recognized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-291
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994


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