CMV & Opportunistic Infection
by Erik Steel
CMV, or cytomegalovirus, is a virus of the family herpesviridae. It is one of the opportunistic infections of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), meaning it is one of the agents that causes illness in people who have advanced HIV infection.
CMV is also known as human herpesvirus-5 (HHV-5). It is one of the betaherpesvirinae, and it is related to the viruses that cause roseola, according to Microbiology and Immunology Online.
Microbiology and Immunology Online reports that cytomegalovirus can be transmitted through contact with an infected person, or through receiving transfusions and transplants from an infected person, and can be passed from pregnant mother to child.
Cytomegalovirus does not cause disease in people with healthy immune systems, even when they become infected with the virus. According to Microbiology and Immunology Online, most people with CMV have no related symptoms.
In people with a weakened immune system due to advanced HIV-disease (AIDS), CMV can lead to retinitis, a condition which can cause affected people to go blind over time, according to Medline Plus. Microbiology and Immunology Online reports that other CMV-related conditions include pneumonia and inflammation of the colon, esophagus and brain.
The antiviral medications ganciclovir and forscanet are used to treat CMV infection, according to Microbiology and Immunology Online. Although opportunistic infections can be managed, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS.