Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a type of pneumonia caused by the fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii. It commonly affects those with medical conditions that lower their immune system such as HIV. PCP can affect the eyes, skin and other organs as well as the lungs [1].

Although those with HIV are now less likely to get PCP due to the availability of new therapies, it is still a serious public health issue.

See also: How Do You Check For HIV From Home?

Who can contract HIV-related pneumonia?

It’s estimated that 40% of people who contract PCP have HIV/AIDS while 60% are generally on medications which affects the body’s ability to fight infection [2].

Although PCP affects those with a weakened immune system, some healthy adults can carry the fungus in their lungs and spread it to those with a weakened immune system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it’s possible that 20% of adults carry the virus and their immune system simply rids of it after a few months [3].

Symptoms of HIV-related pneumonia

In those with HIV, symptoms of PCP typically develop over a few weeks. These symptoms are often respiratory and include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Chills

At the moment, no effective cure exists for HIV. Though, if it’s detected early it can be controlled and those who contract it can go on to live healthy lives. The best way to know your status is by taking a test; this can be done by taking a trip to your doctor’s office or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home STI tests detect the most common sexually transmitted infections. Testing for HIV will involve a simple finger prick sample and your online results will be available within 5 days. Should you have any questions regarding your results, our dedicated medical team will be available to provide guidance and support.

See also: What Are The Most Common STDs?


  1. U.S Department of Health and Human Services. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP). Online:
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumocystis pneumonia. Online:, 2020
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumocystis pneumonia. Online:, 2020