What is the role of exposure avoidance in the prevention of opportunistic infections in patients with HIV infection?

Updated: Mar 09, 2021
  • Author: Justin R Hofmann, MD; Chief Editor: John Bartlett, MD  more...
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Recommending exposure avoidance is always appropriate, but is usually difficult to implement except in the most compulsive patients. Nevertheless, persons infected with HIV should practice appropriate hygiene and dietary precautions, such as avoiding the following [1, 12] :

Cat litter and excreta or saliva of farm animals, wild animals, and pets

Animal bites and scratches

Persons with skin infections

Raw meats, eggs, and shellfish; unwashed raw fruits and vegetables

Unpasteurized dairy products

Drinking untreated lake or river water

Human fecal-oral contact

HIV-infected individuals should also limit occupational or recreational exposure to dirt as much as possible in geographic locales with hyperendemic fungal disease (eg, histoplasmosiscoccidioidomycosisPenicillium marneffei infection). Specially treated water is not helpful. [1]

Use of male latex condoms is strongly recommended for preventing transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV) and other sexually transmitted infections. In situations in which male latex condoms cannot be used properly, an FC1 or FC2 female condom should be considered for heterosexual vaginal intercourse (AII recommendation) or male same-sex anal intercourse (BIII recommendation). [1]

Drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse prevention and therapy should be part of any HIV management program. Many patients with HIV have suffered trauma, placing them at higher risk for poor adherence to preventive and therapeutic interventions. All programs should incorporate principles of trauma-informed care in optimally assisting patients to better health. [13, 14]

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