HIV & Your Eyes

Natural Beauty PortraitOver 35 years have passed since the first diagnosis of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States. Despite a decrease in the number of HIV infections since the height of the epidemic in the mid-1980s, HIV continues to be a serious health problem. Approximately 36.7 million people worldwide are living with the disease according to the World Health Organization. In the United States, the CDC estimates 1.2 million people have HIV, with nearly one in eight not aware they are infected.

The incurable condition affects all ages, sexes and races; however, most new infections occur among gay or bisexual men, followed by African-American heterosexual women. Compared with other races and ethnicities, African Americans have been especially hard hit and represent a majority (44%) of new HIV diagnoses, followed by Latinos, according to the CDC.

Untreated, HIV leads to opportunistic infections or cancers, signaling acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), the advance state of the disease.

People with HIV may experience an array of problems in and around the eyes during the course of the disease. Eye findings can be the initial sign of HIV as well. Common eye findings include…