Pneumocystis pneumonia and AIDS

Pneumocystis is a fungus that can sometimes cause pneumonia in people who have AIDS.

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs. Pneumonia can make it hard to breathe and to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream. Symptoms often begin suddenly and may be similar to those of an upper respiratory infection, such as influenza or a cold. Common symptoms of pneumonia include:

  • Fever of 100°F (38°C) to 106°F (41°C).
  • Shaking chills.
  • Cough that often produces colored mucus (sputum) from the lungs. Sputum may be rust-colored or green or tinged with blood. Older adults may have only a slight cough and no sputum.
  • Rapid, often shallow breathing.
  • Chest wall pain, often made worse by coughing or deep breathing.
  • Fatigue and feelings of weakness (malaise).

Your health professional may suggest an HIV test if Pneumocystis pneumonia is:

  • Suspected on a chest X-ray.
  • Detected in a test that evaluates sputum (thick fluid produced in the lungs and in the airways leading to the lungs).

Last Updated: April 10, 2009

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