HIV/AIDS Glossary

Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) Infection

An infection caused by a group of bacteria called Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). MAC includes Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, and other similar mycobacteria species. MAC bacteria can be found in drinking water, dirt, and household dust. MAC infection usually starts in the lungs and intestines, but can spread throughout the body (disseminated). Symptoms of disseminated MAC infection include fever, night sweats, weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, and diarrhea. Most people with healthy immune systems are not affected by the bacteria. In people with HIV, MAC infection that is outside of the lungs (extrapulmonary) or that has disseminated is an AIDS-defining condition.

Related Term(s): AIDS-Defining Condition, Opportunistic Infection

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