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What are some infections and cancers I could get because I have AIDS?

There are multiple different infections and cancers you can get if you have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). These are called opportunistic infections and are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Some of the common ones include thrush (yeast infection of mouth, esophagus or vagina), Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP), recurrent bacterial pneumonia, meningitis (caused by Cryptococcus, a fungus) and shingles (reactivation of the chicken pox virus). AIDS-related cancers include anal cancer, cervical cancer, Kaposi sarcoma and lymphoma. If you have AIDS it is important to see your healthcare provider frequently so that antiretroviral treatment can be optimized (decreasing your risk of the opportunistic infections) and any opportunistic infection or cancer can be diagnosed and treated.
Patients with HIV/AIDS are at risk of developing several special forms of cancer. Kaposi's Sarcoma is a type of tumor that develops from the blood vessels. Patients may also develop a cancer of the lymph nodes known as Lymphoma. Sometimes cancer may develop on the body surfaces such as on the skin, mouth, throat, and anus. This develops as a result of another virus called the human papilloma virus. Anal cancer can be difficult to treat if not found early or if it becomes metastatic (widespread). The best way to control the development of these cancers is to maintain control and suppression of the HIV virus by taking the appropriate treatments prescribed by your doctor so that the immune system does not become impaired. Many patients can live long productive lives with the advent of new Highly Active Antiretroviral Treatments (HAART) available today for HIV.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.