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HIV-associated mycobacterium avium complex

Related Terms

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Background

  • Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), or mycobacterium avium intracellulare (MAI), is a bacterial infection that is caused by either Mycobacterium avium or Mycobacterium intracellulare. These bacteria are very common. They are present in water, soil, dust and food. In fact, these bacteria are present in almost every human. However, a healthy immune system will prevent the bacteria from causing an infection. Therefore, individuals with a weakened immune system, especially HIV/AIDS patients, are at risk of developing MAC.
  • It is estimated that up to 50% of individuals with HIV/AIDS may develop MAC, especially if their CD4 count (helper T-cells that HIV infects and destroys) is lower than 50 cells per microliter of blood. The CD4 cells play a vital role in the immune system. When HIV destroys these cells, the body is vulnerable to infection and disease. MAC almost never causes infections in people who have a CD4 cell counts higher than 100 cells per microliter of blood.
  • MAC infection can be localized (limited to one part of the body) or disseminated (spread throughout the entire body, sometimes called DMAC). MAC infection often occurs in the lungs, intestines, bone marrow, liver and spleen.
  • Common symptoms of MAC include weight loss, fever, chills, night sweats, swollen glands, abdominal pain, diarrhea, inflammation and overall weakness. MAC usually affects the intestines and inner organs first.
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Causes

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Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.