Modern technology has led to a contemporary medical practice that must be able to manage a variety of opportunistic infections in the immunocompromised host. The most common causes of immune suppression are immunosuppressive therapy after organ transplantation, granulocytopenia secondary to cancer chemotherapy, and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). All of these forms of immunosuppression predispose patients to a wide variety of opportunistic infections caused by reduction in T- and B-cell lymphocyte function as well as depression of neutrophils. However, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has presented the clinician with the greatest challenge in this area. Therefore, it is imperative that physicians and other health care professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the recommended therapy as well as the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and diagnosis of the various infections in these patients.
(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:949-973)