October #106 : Body Eclectic: Lungs - by David Gelman, MD

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Table of Contents

Crime no. 69

Who’s Afraid of HU?

Six Nights in Bangkok

Their Patients, Their People

Thar She Blows!

HU Handbook

Top Black MDs

Heartbreak Hotel

Quilt Trip


No PEP Rally


Show & Tell



Pos & Neg

Meth-od Actor

West Denial Virus

Bangkok Big Top


Private Parts

Forbidden Grapefruit

Quick Study: Prostate

Alzheimer’s Drug Does HIV

Body Eclectic: Lungs

Get Flu-ent

If You Knew Sushi


Trip or Treat

Scared Straight

Hitched & Bewitched


Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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October 2004

Body Eclectic: Lungs

by David Gelman, MD

A short-winded take on two conditions that leave HIVers breathless

Pneumonia—“lung infection.” HAART has slashed rates, but PCP (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia) remains the most common opportunistic infection, even in HIVers with CD4 counts above 200. The usual symptom of this fungal pest is shortness of breath. When CD4s dip below 200, most docs start HIVers on Bactrim to prevent PCP. They should also prescribe it if you have thrush (a sign of weakening immunity, making you a potential PCP target). HIVers are also more at risk for bacterial pneumonias like pneumococcus. Typical symptoms are high fevers, cough, and pain on breathing deeply. Antibiotics knock the wind out of almost all pneumonias—and most folks feel better as soon as they start taking them.

Lung Cancer—HIVer lung-cancer rates are two to eight times higher than neggies’. The diagnosis is tricky because the symptoms—cough, weight loss, fatigue and shortness of breath—also indicate other HIVer ills. But deep breath: When detected, lung cancers in HIVers don’t seem more advanced than in negative folks. Smoking has always been everybody’s greatest preventable risk, and it’s especially dangerous for illness-prone positive folks. A pack of new tools—from meds to patches to peer support—make kicking butt(s) a bit easier.

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