Patterns of opportunistic infections in patients with HIV infection

Dianne M. Finkelstein, Paige L. Williams, Geert Molenberghs, Judith Feinberg, William G. Powderly, James Kahn, Raphael Dolin, Deborah Cotton

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44 Scopus citations


The pattern of the development of opportunistic infections (OIs) in HIV- infected patients was evaluated, based on a cohort of 1,530 patients enrolled in two AIDS Clinical Trials Group anti-retroviral studies. We quantified the increase in risk of OIs associated with the occurrence of a previous OI. This assessment was based on the observed event rates of the more common AIDS- defining OIs: Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and a systemic mycosis. Additionally, for each OI, we assessed the relative risks associated with a history of prior OIs, changes in CD4 levels, and baseline prognostic factors. We found that the occurrence of each of these OIs increased the risk of subsequent OIs, even after adjusting for the CD4 count. Specifically, the occurrence of PCP significantly increased the risk of MAC and CMV, and somewhat increased the risk of systemic mycoses. Diagnosis with MAC was associated with an increased risk of subsequent CMV, whereas the occurrence of CMV increased the risk of MAC. Finally, once patients were diagnosed with a systemic mycosis, they were at a somewhat increased risk of subsequently developing MAC or CMV. Although current practice for determining the timing and initiation of prophylactic therapies relies chiefly on CD4 count, the occurrence of specific AIDS-defining OIs in patients with HIV infection should also be taken into account in making decisions regarding prophylaxis strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-45
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes and Human Retrovirology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1996


  • Cytomegalovirus infection
  • Mycobacterium avium complex
  • Opportunistic infections
  • Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia
  • Prophylactic therapies
  • Proportional hazards model
  • Relative risk
  • Systemic mycosis


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