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for Veterans and the Public

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC)

This condition is caused by bacteria present everywhere in the environment-- in soil, food and animals. It is difficult to avoid exposure because MAC is in so many places. In general, avoid handling soil, and carefully handle and prepare food. (See food safety tips in Diet and Nutrition in the "Daily Living" section.)

Symptoms of MAC can include:

  • fever
  • night sweats
  • weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • chronic diarrhea
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain

HIV drugs, by helping your immune system stay strong, can help your body fight the infection. Antibiotics given over a long period of time can control the infection, and be stopped once the disease is cured and the immune system is stong enough. Call your doctor if you have vision changes or abdominal discomfort while being treated for MAC.