Human immunodeficiency virus infection, Part II.
AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections
The acceptance of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) among patients and health care providers has had a dramatic impact on the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of many opportunistic infections associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Previously intractable opportunistic infections and syndromes are now far less common. In addition, effective antibiotic prophylactic therapies have had a profound impact on the risk of patients developing particular infections and on the incidence of these infections overall. Most notable among these are Pneumocystis carinii, disseminated Mycobacterium avium complex, tuberculosis, and toxoplasmosis. Nevertheless, infections continue to cause significant morbidity and mortality among patients who are infected with HIV. The role of HAART in many clinical situations is unquestioned. Compelling data from clinical trials support the use of these therapies during pregnancy to prevent perinatal transmission of HIV. HAART is also recommended for health care workers who have had a "significant" exposure to the blood of an HIV-infected patient. Both of these situations are discussed in detail in this article. In addition, although more controversial, increasing evidence supports the use of HAART during the acute HIV seroconversion syndrome. An "immune reconstitution syndrome" has been newly described for patients in the early phases of treatment with HAART who develop tuberculosis, M avium complex, and cytomegalovirus disease. Accumulating data support the use of hydroxyurea, an agent with a long history in the field of myeloproliferative disorders, for the treatment of HIV. Newer agents, particularly abacavir and adefovir dipivoxil, are available through expanded access protocols, and their roles are being defined and clarified.