What is HIV-related retinochoroiditis?

Updated: Jul 21, 2021
  • Author: Luca Rosignoli, MD; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Viruses are the most common cause of infectious retinitis and/or choroiditis. Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that can damage the retina and/or choroid, either by direct invasion or by their ability to alter the host immune system.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common cause of necrotizing retinitis in patients who are HIV positive. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and, less commonly, HSV may cause acute retinal necrosis (ARN). This necrotizing retinitis may be unilateral or bilateral. Another form of necrotizing retinitis, progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN), may occur in advanced HIV disease. [11] To date, VZV is the only organism associated with PORN.

Common bacterial causes of retinitis in patients who are HIV positive include Treponema pallidum (syphilis) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Fungal causes of retinitis and/or choroiditis include Pseudallescheria boydii, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Histoplasma capsulatum, as well as Candida, Sporothrix, and Aspergillus species. Parasitic causes include Toxoplasma gondii and Pneumocystis jiroveci.

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