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CMV is short for cytomegalovirus (seye-toh-MEG-uh-loh-VEYE-ruhss). In people who don't have HIV, CMV is a common, usually harmless infection. In people with HIV/AIDS, CMV can hurt the eyes, causing problems seeing or even blindness. A person with HIV who gets CMV is considered to have AIDS. CMV can hurt other parts of your body too. It also can cause painful swallowing, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, and pain, weakness, and numbness in the legs. The risk of CMV is highest when CD4 cell counts are below 50. It is rare in people whose CD4 cell counts are above 100. CMV can cause other problems, like colitis and hepatitis, which are serious conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system. CMV spreads from one person to another in saliva (spit), semen, vaginal secretions, blood, urine, and breast milk. You can get CMV when you touch these fluids with your hands, and then touch your nose or mouth.
- Take your HIV drugs the way you're told to
- If you get sick from your medicine, call your doctor for help
- Wash your hands a lot. Use soap and wash them well.
- Use condoms (though condom use cannot guarantee total protection against CMV)
- Talk to your doctor if you're getting a blood transfusion. Most blood banks don't screen blood for CMV.
If you work in a day care center, you should take these special steps:
- Wash your hands really well after touching urine (pee) or saliva (spit)
- Don't touch saliva or objects covered with saliva (such as cups, pacifiers, toys)
- Talk with your doctor to see if you should work in a day care center
Explore other publications and websites
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) — This website provides information about transmission, diagnosis, and prevention of CMV.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and HIV disease (Copyright © Project Inform) — This publication describes cytomegalovirus (CMV) and how it can affect people with HIV/AIDS. It lists the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options, and gives tips for preventing infection.
Cytomegalovirus Infection in Pregnancy (Copyright © March of Dimes) — When a pregnant woman becomes infected with cytomegalovirus (CMV), she can pass it to her unborn baby. Although rare, CMV infection can cause the newborn to become very sick, develop lifelong disabilities, or even die. This publication provides information on CMV, how it is diagnosed in pregnant women and their babies, as well as tips to keep from getting CMV.
You Can Prevent CMV (Cytomegalovirus) Infection — This online brochure answers basic questions about cytomegalovirus (CMV) and how to protect yourself from the virus.
Content last updated July 1, 2011.
Resources last updated July 1, 2011.
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