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Opportunistic Infections

Education Packet

Opportunistic Infections – This packet is a compilation of recent fact sheets and other resources. You may wish to customize it to meet the needs or interests of particular groups, such as event participants, providers, patients, clients, or the general public. So please feel free to distribute all or part of this packet as either a printout or PDF.


Fact Sheets

Opportunistic Infections ( – This answers frequently asked questions about opportunistic infections (OIs), including: what OIs are, the most common OIs, the causes of OIs, the people with HIV at greatest risk for OIs, and the prevention of OIs.

What Is an Opportunistic Infection? (HIVinfo) – This describes what OIs are, why people with HIV get OIs, how common OIs are in people with HIV, steps people can take to avoid OIs, and treatment for OIs. Also available in Spanish.

AIDS and Opportunistic Infections (CDC) – This describes the relationship between AIDS and OIs, what OIs are, and how OIs can be prevented. It also includes a table with key facts about 20 of the most common OIs and related conditions. Also available in Spanish.

HIV-Related Infections and Cancers (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) – This provides an overview of OIs as well as brief descriptions of approximately 20 of the most common OIs and HIV-related cancers. Information is also provided about ways people with HIV can prevent OIs.

Fungal Diseases: People Living with HIV/AIDS (CDC) – This provides background information about fungal infections seen in people with HIV, ways fungal infections can be prevented in people with HIV, and the occurrence of HIV-related fungal OIs in the U.S. and globally.

Neurological Complications of HIV and AIDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) – This describes how HIV affects the nervous system, the different neurological complications that are associated with HIV infection, as well as the diagnosis and treatment of these complications.

HIV/AIDS & Oral Health (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research) – This provides background information about the most common oral health problems seen in people with HIV, as well as the causes, symptoms, and treatments for these problems. It also includes tips for dealing with dry mouth, a condition that is common in people with HIV. Also available in Spanish.

Tuberculosis: The Connection between TB and HIV (CDC) – This resource provides information about what TB is, how it spreads, the difference between latent TB infection and TB disease, why it is important for people with HIV to know whether they are infected with TB, and TB testing and what its results mean.



Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in Adults and Adolescents with HIV (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – HHS) – These guidelines, which are written for healthcare providers, give specific recommendations for the prevention and treatment of more than 20 infectious diseases that occur with greater frequency among people with HIV. They also include a recommended immunization schedule for adults and adolescents with HIV. For each disease, brief and full versions of the guidelines are available.

The full guidelines are excellent sources of detailed information about particular OIs, including epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, prevention of exposure and disease, treatment, prevention of recurrence, and special considerations for particular patient groups. For your convenience, we have provided links to the Guidelines’ sections on specific OIs below:


Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Opportunistic Infections in HIV-Exposed and HIV-Infected Children (HHS) – These guidelines, which focus on pediatric patients, provide detailed recommendations on the prevention and treatment of more than 20 infectious diseases that occur with greater frequency among children with HIV. Guidance is also provided on the immunization of pediatric patients with HIV for vaccine-preventable diseases. Like the adult and adolescent OI guidelines above, the pediatric guidelines are an excellent source of detailed information about particular OIs.


CDC Fact Sheets and Web Pages

CDC has produced fact sheets and summaries for many of the different conditions that sometimes occur as OIs in people with HIV.  For your convenience, we have produced an alphabetical list of these conditions. Please note that, while some of these CDC resources provide specific information about the occurrence of particular conditions in the context of HIV/AIDS, others do not.


Educational Curriculum for Providers

National HIV Curriculum: Opportunistic Infections – Prevention (AIDS Education and Training Center, University of Washington, and other partners) – This is the second lesson in the Curriculum’s Co-Occurring Conditions module. It includes detailed information on many topics, including:

  • Background and Overview
  • Pneumocystis Pneumonia
  • Toxoplasma Encephalitis
  • Disseminated Mycobacterium Avium Complex
  • Cryptococcal Meningitis
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Summary Points


National HIV Curriculum: Opportunistic Infections – Treatment – This is the third lesson in the Curriculum’s Co-Occurring Conditions module. It includes detailed information on many topics, including:

  • Background
  • Pneumocystis Pneumonia
  • Toxoplasma gondii Encephalitis
  • Disseminated Mycobacterium Avium Complex Disease
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Cytomegalovirus Disease
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
  • Esophageal Candidiasis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Bartonella
  • Coccidiomycosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Microsporidiosis
  • Cystoisosporiasis (Formerly Isosporiasis)
  • Summary Points


Opportunistic Infection Medications and Clinical Trials

Drug Database of HIV and Opportunistic Infection Medications (Clinicalinfo.HIV) – This database lists information about more than 150 medications for HIV, opportunistic infections, and related conditions that have either been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or are being studied in clinical trials. For FDA-approved medications, each drug listing generally provides: a summary of the most important things to know about the drug; what the drug is, including its class; health considerations that may affect who can take the drug; what to do if a dose is missed; potential side effects; storage requirements; and where to find more information. For investigational drugs, the listings include background information and clinical trials studying the particular drug. Also available in Spanish.

AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) – ACTG is the world’s largest and longest running HIV clinical trials network. It conducts research to improve the treatment of HIV and opportunistic infections, as well as its co-morbidities. Opportunistic Infections – Clicking on this link brings up a list of studies in the database that focus on OIs and related conditions.


Selected Resources from AIDS Education and Training Centers (AETCs)

Note: The resources in this list cover some opportunistic infections and other comorbidities that are seen in people with HIV. The resources listed below do not focus on HIV and viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted infections, and most oral manifestations of HIV. These topics are covered in separate pages of NEAETC’s Online HIV Resource Library.

HIV Health Outcomes: It’s More Than Just Viral Suppression (AETC National Coordinating Resource Center, August 2023) – The purpose of this resource is to increase clinician awareness of the increased prevalence of specific illnesses and mortalities among people with HIV in the United States, with recommendations for prevention, screening, and harm reduction.

Pneumocystis Pneumonia: Prevention and Treatment (Mountain West AETC, August 2022) – These training slides provide an overview of pneumocystis pneumonia prevention and treatment recommendations.

Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (South Central AETC, April 2022) – These training slides review how to identify patients at greatest risk of developing immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), as well as the clinical signs, symptoms, and appropriate management of IRIS in people with HIV with an opportunistic infection or malignancy.

HIV and Opportunistic Infections (Southeast AETC, March 2022) – These training slides provide information about how to recognize the most common OIs, review prophylaxis and treatment of common OIs, and describe exposures and ways to prevent OIs.

ART Timing for Selected Opportunistic Infections (Mountain West AETC, February 2022) – These case-based training slides review appropriate ART initiation timing for TB and cryptococcal meningitis.

Screening & Management of Anal Dysplasia in the HIV Clinic (South Central AETC and others, September 2021) – These training slides cover why people with HIV are at higher risk for anal dysplasia and cancer, and review recommended anal cancer screening methods for people with HIV.

Cryptococcosis in People with HIV: Updated Guidelines on Prevention and Treatment (Mountain West AETC, August 2021) – These training slides provide a case-based review of cryptococcosis in people with HIV, including information about two major updates to the guidelines, screening, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment.

Isolated Hepatitis B Core Antibody in People with HIV Infection (Mountain West AETC, May 2021) – These training slides define and review isolated hepatitis B core antibody, isolated anti-HBc, occult HBV infection and its clinical significance, HBV immunizations, and considerations for people with HIV.

Diabetes Medications for Type 2 Diabetes with Focus on HIV: Parts 1 & 2 (Mountain West AETC, March 2021) – These training slides from a 2-part series focus on the physiology and mechanism of action, efficacy, safety, tolerability, management of side effects, dosing, and administration of diabetes medications, with particular emphasis on their use in people with HIV.

Diabetes Mellitus Screening in People with HIV (South Central AETC and others, December 2020) – These presentation training slides cover the different methods of diagnosing diabetes and how they may not be accurate in people with HIV.

Oral and Oropharyngeal HPV Infection in People with HIV (Northeast/Caribbean AETC, November 2020) – These training slides on oral HPV infections in people with HIV cover HPV pathogenesis, prevalence, risk factors, benign and malignant disorders, vaccines, and other topics.


The contents listed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the New England AIDS Education and Training Center.