Dumb Question

If Type 1 is really caused by the immune system attacking islet cells then why do people with comprimised immune systems get Type 1 more than healthy people? I read an article last night that men with AIDS have a higher incidence of Type1 diabetes than the regular population. One would think the opposite would be true.

Terry - Type 1 and HIV/AIDS are both in the category of "auto-immune diseases", and from what I know as a non-doctor, once you have one auto-immune disease, you're more prone to getting others, vs. the "regular" population.


I have a theory, but i really don't have any backing for it so take it with a grain a salt. 

Many times an initial disease has to trigger your body to attack itself. For example, with my diabetes, the doctors guessed that the strep throat that I had just prior to me being diagnosed triggered something in my body to begin attacking itself. With AIDS, I believe it is HIV that triggers the response by the body to attack the immune system, but I really have no idea. Anyways, someone, like an AIDS patient, who has a weak immune system, is more susceptible to disease. Therefore, someone with AIDS is also more susceptible to an auto-immune response that would cause things such as Type One diabetes. Again this is all my personal theory, if it makes any sense to you.

Essentially, I would guess that someone with a problematic immune system is open to a whole host of other issues.

Take care,


It would seem logical that someone with a weakened immune system would be less likely to have an immune system that could attack the pancreas let alone all the other diseases it eventually fails to fight off. An autoimmune disorder would be an over zealous immune system rather than a weak one.

I guess that is not the case with Type 1.

I was also told that once you have an auto-immune disease you're more likely to getting others.

I may be wrong but I think AIDS is an immune disease but not an autoimmune disease. A virus attacks the immune system rather than the immune system attacking its own body.


From this web site I found this article


This sounds like a fairly simplistic and understandable initial explanation.  Unfortunately, and it took me a number of years to recognize this problem, most people do not know/understand the difference (or know that there is a difference) between AID and AIDS:  Autoimmune Disease versus Acquired Immune Deficiency.  In AID the immune system needs to be suppressed since it is attacking the body, while in AIDS the immune system (because of HIV) has been too compromised and weakened to defend itself against infections.  One is not infectious (AID), while the other (AIDS) can be very contagious; both can be fatal.  Other than close family and friends, who really cares much about a very rare illness which they cannot “catch”?

When explaining it is interesting how with AID the treatments usually involve attempts to weaken the person’s immune system (which is attacking the person’s body), while AIDS is an entirely different entity (with the immune system needing to be boosted since it is no longer able to defend the person’s body).  The only thing in common, besides initials, is that both do involve the immune system.

i've never been told WHY we're more prone to other ones..but I speculate it's because our body is already attacking itself that makes it easier for other autoimmune conditions to be triggered.

I was also told that my diabetes was "triggered" by strep throat. My doctors are always warning me and tell me to try and stay away from other people who are sick because diabetics are more prone to catching things. Dan's theory makes a lot of sense especially since I had the same scenario.

It;s true that you'd think someone with a weakened immune system (e.g. HIV/AIDS) would have less of a chance of the body attacking itself and getting an auto-immune disease (like T1). I think Dan's hypothesis makes sense too! But, of course, I'm not a doctor.

I think it's because once HIV, for instance, has damaged your immune system, it can become confused and start attacking other cells that it normally would not.  However, it is really weird because if your immune system doesn't work, it shouldn't be able to attack other cells...But maybe HIV just harms the immune system enough so that it can't adequately fight typical pathogens and may turn against other cells instead.  I have no idea.

Maybe there is a virus that actually causes Type 1 rather than just an imune response alone. Maybe the virus attacks the islets and the immune system attacks the virus infected islets. If this were the case then I could understand the HIV causing more Type 1. Healthy people might be able to fight the pathogen.

[quote user="Kim"]

Terry - Type 1 and HIV/AIDS are both in the category of "auto-immune diseases", and from what I know as a non-doctor, once you have one auto-immune disease, you're more prone to getting others, vs. the "regular" population.


Crap. One auto-immune disease is enough, thank you.

[quote user="Pat"]

Crap. One auto-immune disease is enough, thank you.


i have 3. i lose.

I have two.  I... am in the middle. 

It's a Kim Sandwich!


It is crazy to hear someone else with the "strep throat theory,"  there have been numerous times I have told people that story and they look at me like I just told them I grew-up on another plant. 

Virus infection in the pancreas study. This might explain why AIDS patients get Type 1 more easily.