3.12 - Human Immunodeficiency Virus Related Opportunistic Infection (Updated)

Disease / Etiology




Pneumocystis Jirovecii (Carinii) Pneumonia (PCP)

Moderate to Severe Disease 
Co-trimoxazole (Trimethoprim component) 15 - 20 mg/kg/day IV divided q6 - 8H for 21 days, may switch to PO after clinical improvement 

Mild to Moderate Disease 
Co-trimoxazole (Trimethoprim component) 15 - 20 mg/kg/day PO divided q8H for 21 days

Co-trimoxazole 5 mg/kg (Trimethoprim component) IV/PO q6H for 21 days

Moderate to Severe Disease 
Clindamycin [600 mg IV q6H] or [450 mg PO q6H or 600 mg PO q8H] 
+ Primaquine 30 mg base PO q24H for 21 days
Pentamidine 4 mg/kg IV q24H infused over > 60 mins

Indication for steroids
PaO< 70 mmg Hg (9.3kPa) or SpO2 < 92% on room air.
Prednisolone doses (beginning as early as possible and within 72 hours of PCP therapy):
Days 1 - 5: 40 mg PO q12H
Days 6 - 10: 40 mg PO q24H
Days 11 - 21: 20 mg PO q24H
If unable to take oral, methylprednisolone at 75% of this dose can be administered.

Prednisolone: PaO2 < 70 mmg Hg in room air

Start 1.5 - 2 mg/kg/day in 2 divided doses
Tail down by 1 mg/kg/day every 5 days over 10 - 12 days

OR Dexamethasone 0.3 - 0.5 mg/kg IM/IV q6H for 5 days

OR alternatively


Patients given dapsone should be tested for G6PD deficiency.

Discontinuation of secondary/ primary prophylaxis
Can be discontinued in patients on HAART with CD4 >100 with undetectable viral loads for 3 - 6 months.

Secondary Prophylaxis
Indications: Hx of PCP, CD4 < 200 or < 14%

Co-trimoxazole (480 mg) 1 - 2 tablets PO q24H 

Dapsone 100 mg PO q24H

Nebulized Pentamidine 300 mg every month


Primary Prophylaxis in Children:
Co-trimoxazole 4 mg/kg (Trimethoprim component) PO q24H. Primary prophylaxis starts from 6 weeks old in HIV-exposed infants until status is established.

Alternative regimes:
150 mg/m2/day (Trimethoprim component) in 2 divided doses, given on alternate days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Under 6 months old: 
Co-trimoxazole 20 mg (Trimethoprim component) PO q24H.

Toxoplasma gondii encephalitis

Pyrimethamine loading dose 200 mg PO single dose 
followed by 
Pyrimethamine 50 mg 
(< 60 kg) to 75 mg (≥ 60 kg) PO q24H 
+ Sulfadiazine 1 gm (< 60 kg) to 1.5 gm (≥ 60 kg) PO q6H 
+ Folinic Acid 15 mg PO q24H 

For at least 6 weeks 

Longer duration if clinical or radiological disease is extensive or response is incomplete at 6 weeks.

Pyrimethamine 2 mg/kg/day (Day 1 & 2) PO loading dose; followed by 1 mg/kg/day for 2 - 6 months and then 1 mg/kg/day 3 times per week to complete 12 months total duration.

+ Sulfadiazine 50 mg/kg/dose PO q12H for 12 months

+ Folinic Acid 10 - 25 mg PO daily with each dose of Pyrimethamine.
Continue for 1 week after discontinuation of Pyrimethamine.

Pyrimethamine loading dose 200 mg PO single dose 
followed by 
Pyrimethamine 50 mg
(< 60 kg) to 75 mg (≥ 60 kg) PO q24H 
+ Folinic Acid 15 mg PO q24H 
+ Clindamycin 600 mg IV/PO q6H 


Co-trimoxazole (Trimethoprim component) 5 mg/kg IV/PO q12H

If Pyrimethamine not available, t
o use Co-Trimoxazole as above.

Adjunctive corticosteroids (e.g. Dexamethasone) should be administered when clinically indicated, e.g. for treatment of a mass effect associated with focal lesions or associated oedema. Discontinue as soon as clinically feasible. 

If clindamycin is used in place of sulfadiazine, additional therapy must be added to prevent PCP.

Transmission of toxoplasma to infants by mother with HIV is uncommon in early pregnancy (< 10%). However, the risk increases sharply if mother has toxoplasma infection during last few weeks of pregnancy. Toxoplasma encephalitis in HIV-infected children is uncommon. Congenital toxoplasmosis is diagnosed by presence in neonatal blood of toxoplasma specific IgA, IgM in the first 6 month of life; or persistence of toxoplasma specific IgG beyond 6 month old. 
Co-trimoxazole NOT used in children as treatment.

Consider when on HAART, CD4 > 200 for more than 3 months and viral load suppressed.

Secondary Prophylaxis

Pyrimethamine 25 – 50 mg PO q24H 
+ Sulfadiazine 0.5 - 1 gm PO q6H 
+ Folinic Acid 15 mg PO q24H

Pyrimethamine 25 – 50 mg PO q24H 
+ Clindamycin 600 mg PO q8H 
+ Folinic Acid 15 mg PO q24H 


Co-trimoxazole (480 mg) 
2 tablets PO q12H

Cryptococcal Meningitis 

(Cryptococcus neoformans var neoformans)

Induction Therapy
Amphotericin B Deoxycholate 0.7 - 1 mg/kg IV q24H 
Lipid formulation Amphotericin B 5 mg/kg IV daily (consider in those with renal dysfunction on therapy or have high likelihood of renal failure) 


Flucytosine 25 mg/kg PO q6H 
for at least 2
weeks *

Amphotericin B Deoxycholate 0.7 - 1.5 mg/kg IVI q24H over 4 - 6 hours for at least 2 weeks 
(if available) 25 mg/kg PO q6H for at least 2 weeks

Induction Therapy
1200 mg IV/PO q24H 
+ Flucytosine 25 mg/kg PO q6H for 2 weeks for persons unable to tolerate or unresponsive to Amphotericin B

* A 1 week course of Amphotericin B Deoxycholate with Flucytosine is permissible if access to lipid formulation Amphotericin B is limited and if a patient is developing severe toxicity to Amphotericin B Deoxycholate. However, this has to be followed by PO Fluconazole 1200mg/day for the remainder of the induction phase which is 2 weeks.

Addition of Flucytosine to Amphotericin B has been associated with more rapid sterilization of CSF, decreased risk for subsequent relapse and reduced mortality. 

OP should always be measured when an LP is performed. If OP > 250 mm H2O and signs of cerebral oedema present, do daily LPs to reduce CSF pressure.
If clinical signs of cerebral oedema do not improve after about 2 weeks of daily LPs, consider placement of a lumbar drain or ventriculoperitoneal shunt.

Consolidation Therapy
(after at least 2 weeks of successful induction – defined as significant clinical improvement & negative CSF culture) 
800 mg PO q24H for 8 weeks

Fluconazole 6 mg/kg IV/PO q12H (800 mg/day) for 8 - 10 weeks 
OR Itraconazole 5 mg/kg (max 200 mg) q12hr PO for 8 weeks


Secondary Prophylaxis

Fluconazole 200 mg PO q24H until CD4 count > 200 with undetectable viral loads.

Fluconazole 3 - 6 mg/kg PO q24H (max 200 mg/day).
May be stopped when CD4 > 200.

Itraconazole 200 mg PO q12H until CD4 > 200 (for patients intolerant of or who failed Fluconazole). 

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Retinitis

Initial Therapy 
Ganciclovir 5 mg/kg IV q12H for 2 - 3 weeks

5 mg/kg IV q12H for 2 - 3 weeks

Valganciclovir 900 mg PO q12H for 2 - 3 weeks

16 mg/kg PO q12H for 2 - 3 weeks

Immediate Sight Threatening Lesions
Intravitreal Ganciclovir may be administered with consideration of placement of Ganciclovir intraocular implant provide more expedient loading doses and in patients unable to tolerate systemic therapy.

Initial Therapy 
Foscarnet 90 mg/kg IV q12H for 2 - 3 weeks

Foscarnet 60 mg/kg IV q8H for 14 - 21 days, then 90 - 120 mg/kg q24H for chronic suppressive therapy

Initial therapy should also include optimization of HAART. 

Maintenance therapy for CMV retinitis can be safely discontinued in patients with inactive disease and sustained CD4+ count (>100 cells/mm3 for ≥ 3 – 6 months) and undetectable viral loads. 

Patients with CMV retinitis who discontinued maintenance therapy should undergo regular eye examination, optimally every 3 months, for early detection of relapse or immune recovery uveitis (IRU).

Foscarnet is not available in UMMC formulary.

Chronic Maintenance Therapy
Ganciclovir 6 mg/kg IV daily 5 times weekly
Valganciclovir 900 mg PO q24H

Chronic Maintenance Therapy
Foscarnet 120 mg/kg IV daily 5 times weekly

CMV esophagitis or colitis

Ganciclovir 5 mg/kg IV q12H 

OR Valganciclovir 900mg PO q12H

for 21 - 42 days or until resolution of signs and symptoms.

Foscarnet 90 mg/kg IV q12H

Maintenance therapy is usually not necessary. 
HAART offers best hope for prevention of relapses.

Foscarnet is not available in UMMC formulary.

CMV neurological disease

Ganciclovir 5 mg/kg IV q12H


Foscarnet 90 mg/kg IV q12h or 60 mg/kg IV q8h (if available)

Continue until CMV PCR has become undetectable in both CSF and serum and clinical evidence of disease has resolved.


Valganciclovir 900mg PO q12H


Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC)

At least 2 drugs as initial therapy with: 
Clarithromycin 500 mg PO q12H 
+ Ethambutol 15 mg/kg PO q24H 

Addition of rifabutin
or rifampicin may also be considered: Rifabutin 300 mg PO q24H or Rifampicin 10mg/kg PO q24H.

Ethambutol 15 - 25 mg/kg PO q24H (max 1.2 gm/day)
Clarithromycin 7.5 - 10 mg/kg (max 500 mg) PO q12H
OR Azithromycin 10 - 12 mg/kg (max 500 mg/day) PO q24H

Azithromycin 500 mg PO q24H 
+ Ethambutol 15 mg/kg PO q24H 

Addition of a 3rd or 4th drug should be considered for patients with advanced immunosuppression (CD4 count < 50) or in the absence of effective ART. 

Amikacin 10 – 15 mg/kg IV q24H 
OR Streptomycin 15 mg/kg (max 1 gm) IV / IM q24H 
Levofloxacin 500 mg PO q24H OR Moxifloxacin 400 mg PO q24H

Ciprofloxacin 10 - 15 mg/kg PO q12H (max 1500 mg/day)
+ Amikacin 15 - 30 mg/kg/day IV or IM


At least 12 months of therapy, can discontinue if no signs and symptoms of MAC disease and sustained (>6 months) CD4 count >100 cells/mm3 in response to ART.

Avoid Fluoroquinolones wherever possible in patients < 18 years old

Talaromycosis (Formerly Penicilliosis)
Talaromyces marneffei     

Induction Regimen
Amphotericin B Deoxycholate 0.6 mg/kg IV q24H for 2 weeks 


Lipid formulation Amphotericin B 5 mg/kg IV q24H (consider in those with renal dysfunction on therapy or have high likelihood of renal failure) 

Continuation Phase
Itraconazole 200 mg PO q12H for 10 weeks 

Chronic Maintenance Therapy
Itraconazole 200 mg PO q24H 

Amphotericin B Dexoycholate 0.6 - 1 mg/kg IV q24H for 14 days, followed by Itraconazole 3 - 5 mg/kg (max 200 mg) PO q24H

Voriconazole 6 mg/kg IV q12H for 1 day, then 4 mg/kg IV/PO q12H for 2 weeks

Consider discontinuation among patients with CD4 count > 100 cells/mm3 for > 6 months. 

Itraconazole syrup has better bioavailability compared to Itraconazole capsule.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Empirical treatment should be initiated and continued in whom TB is suspected until all diagnostic work up is complete. 

Treatment of drug susceptible active TB disease: 
Initial Phase (2 months)
Isoniazid (INH) + Rifampicin (RIF) + Pyrazinamide (PZA) + Ethambutol (EMB) 

Continuation phase 
INH + RIF daily



Daily Dose (Range) (mg/kg)






5 (4-6)















Fixed Dose Combinations (FDC) available: 
Akurit 4
(RIF 150 mg, INH 75 mg, PZA 400 mg, EMB 275 mg) 

Akurit 2 
(RIF 150 mg, INH 75 mg) 
30 - 37 kg: 2 tablets daily 
38 - 54 kg: 3 tablets daily 
55 - 70 kg: 4 tablets daily 
> 70 kg: 5 tablets daily 


Pyridoxine 10 - 50mg PO q24H

Duration of therapy: 
Pulmonary TB for 6 months. 
Extrapulmonary TB with CNS, bone or joint infections for 9 - 12 months. 
Extrapulmonary TB in other sites for 6 - 9 months.

Pulmonary TB
HRZ(E) for 2 months,
followed by HR for 7 months

Osseous or CNS TB
HRZE for 2 months,
followed by HR for 10 months or longer


Daily Dose








10 - 15



10 - 20



20 - 40



15 - 25



Treatment of drug resistant active TB 
Resistant to INH
IF + EMB + PZA+ Levofloxacin for 2 months, followed by RIF + EMB + Levofloxacin 750mg PO q24H for 7 months 

Resistant to RIF
INH + PZA + EMB + Fluoroquinolone for 2 months,
followed by 10 - 16 additional months with INH + EMB + Fluroquinolone 

Multidrug Resistant (MDR) or Extensively Drug Resistant (XDR) TB
Therapy should be individualized based on resistance pattern and with close consultation with an ID specialist.

Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) is recommended for all patients. 
All patients should receive pyridoxine 10
50 mg PO q24H supplementation. 

All HIV - TB co-infected patients should receive co-trimoxazole preventive therapy for the duration of TB treatment. 

Adjuvant corticosteroids should be added when treating CNS and pericardial disease. 

Recommended corticosteroid regimens: 
Dexamethasone 0.3 - 0.4 mg/kg tapered over 6 - 8 weeks or 
Prednisolone 1 mg/kg for 3 weeks then tapered over 3 - 5 weeks. 

Daily dosing
of anti-TB treatment is preferred for HIV infected patients in intensive phase. 
Intermittent dosing in intensive phase: 5 days per week for 40 doses by DOT may be considered. 
Rifampicin is not recommended in patients receiving protease inhibitors (PI) because of induction of PI metabolism. 

Rifabutin is preferred in patients receiving PIs as it is a less potent inducer of CYP 3A4.

Rifabutin dose when given with PIs: 150mg PO q24H


Candidiasis (Mucocutaneous)

Oropharyngeal Candidiasis; Initial Episodes (For 7–14 Days):

Oral Therapy: Fluconazole 100 mg PO q24H

Topical Therapy: Nystatin suspension 4–6 mL q6H or 1–2 flavoured pastilles 4–5 times daily

Oesophageal Candidiasis (For 14–21 Days):

Fluconazole 100 mg (up to 400 mg) PO or IV q24


Uncomplicated Vulvo-Vaginal Candidiasis:

Oral fluconazole 150 mg for 1 dose, or

Topical azoles (Clotrimazole OR Miconazole) for 3–7 days

Oral Therapy

Itraconazole 200 mg PO daily



Revision history: Updated on 9th Feb 2021