When AIDS sets in

Learn more about what happens when AIDS sets in with information on common infections and pathogens including cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis and cryptosporidiosis, which can cause serious infections.


When the immune system is compromised (for example, by HIV/Aids), Cytomegalovirus is activated and can cause infections.


One of the opportunistic diseases that can strike down people with HIV/Aids is Cryptosporidiosis (“crypto”) is caused by a germ called Cryptosporidium parvum.

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, or PML, is a disease that attacks the brain. It is caused by a virus called JC virus (JCV), which is common among the general population and normally harmless. In people with advanced HIV/Aids, JCV attacks the myelin sheaths around the nerve and brain cells, and causes lesions in the white matter of the brain.


Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the chickenpox virus (varicella-zoster virus, or VZV).

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a type of malignant tumour of the blood vessels that develops most commonly on the skin and mucous membranes, but may also affect internal organs.

When HIV infection turns into AIDS

Many symptoms and diseases can be associated with HIV-infection in a specific person because of the unique way in which HIV attacks and disarms the immune system.

Mycobacterium avium complex

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection is caused by a group of environmental bacteria called Mycobacterium avium complex. These bacteria live harmlessly in the bodies of people with healthy immune systems. In persons with advanced HIV, MAC can spread throughout the body and damage tissue.

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