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Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

for Veterans and the Public

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

Cytomegalovirus (or CMV) is passed by close contact through sex and through saliva, urine, and other body fluids. It can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy and by breast-feeding. If you are not infected, safer sex may help prevent infection.

Many people are infected with this virus, though they have no symptoms. In HIV-positive people, the infection can be extremely serious. Symptoms can include:

  • blind spots in vision, loss of peripheral vision
  • headache, difficulty concentrating, sleepiness
  • mouth ulcers
  • pain in the abdomen, bloody diarrhea
  • fever, fatigue, weight loss
  • shortness of breath
  • lower back pain
  • confusion, apathy, withdrawal, personality changes

Drugs are available to keep symptoms of the infection under control. Anti-HIV drugs can improve the condition, too. If you haven't started taking drugs for HIV, it may be best to wait until you have been on treatment for CMV for a few weeks.

Treatment can prevent further loss of vision but cannot reverse existing damage. If you experience any vision problems, tell your provider immediately.