7 Deadly Opportunistic Infections Associated With HIV/AIDS

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening disease attributable to the HIV virus. This virus weakens your immune system, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections and prevents your body from fighting any infection. In 2017, according to WHO, over 940,000 individuals worldwide died from causes related to HIV.

People with HIV have symptoms such as fever, rash, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, enlarged lymph nodes, and so on. These are the main indications of diseases that may deteriorate as the virus continues to multiply and damage your immune cells. If left untreated with antiviral drugs, HIV may gradually grow into AIDS that can be diagnosed after your body’s CD4 T-cell count drops below 200.

You can become infected with HIV through sex with an infected person, transfusion of blood, sharing needles, and during delivery or breast-feeding. Infection with HIV makes you vulnerable to different diseases.

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If you have been lately diagnosed with HIV and have a pre-existing health disorder, you should speak to your healthcare professional about any medication that you are presently on as it may affect antiretroviral therapy. Tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are prevalent HIV co-infections that can be tested as part of your routine health checks; they can all be treated. If your HIV treatment does not work, your immune system will become weaker and you may face opportunistic infections.

7 Major Opportunistic Infections That Comes With HIV/AIDS

  1. Tuberculosis: TB is the most prevalent HIV-related infection and is recognized among individuals with AIDS as a major cause of mortality.
  2. Hepatitis B and C: Also prevalent among individuals living with HIV are hepatitis B and hepatitis C. They can be handled. Both are prevalent among drug-injecting individuals. Hepatitis B vaccine, which is more common in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, is available. Hepatitis damages the liver and, if left untreated, can be very severe.
  3. Candidiasis: Candidiasis triggers inflammation and a thick, white coating on the mucous membranes of your throat, tongue, oesophagus, or vagina.
  4. Cryptococcal meningitis: it is a membrane and fluid inflammation that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. A fungus discovered in the soil causes cryptococcal meningitis
  5. Cytomegalovirus: This prevalent herpes disease is transferred through body fluids including saliva, blood, urine, semen, and breast milk and may trigger eye, digestive tract, lung, or other organ damage.
  6. Cryptosporidiosis: An intestinal parasite frequently identified in livestock causes this infection. After consuming or drinking contaminated meat or water, you can get it.
  7. Toxoplasmosis: a life-threatening disease induced by Toxoplasma gondii, a disease mainly transmitted by cats. A patient gets seizures when the disease extends to the brain.

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Tips On How To Manage HIV and Other Health Conditions

  • Avoid Other Health Problems: Some health conditions can be avoided, and you can take precautions and modifications in lifestyle to prevent developing them. For instance, you may choose to decrease or stop smoking, enhance your diet, or practice more frequently to decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. In addition to remaining healthy and looking after your mental health, some other diseases can be avoided by getting vaccinations where available, or by using an insecticide-treated bed net in regions where malaria is prevalent, for instance.
  • Avoid Sexually Transmitted Infections: It is essential for the sake of your health to use a condom to safeguard yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), but it is particularly crucial if you are living with HIV. This is because STIs not only cause disease, but also boost the risk of HIV infection. This is because most STIs trigger sores or lesions that make entering the body simpler for HIV and other opportunistic infections. If you live with HIV and have an STI as well, your viral load is likely to boost due to weaker immune systems. If you have sex without a condom, this will make you more likely to pass on HIV.
  • Consult Your Healthcare Professional: It is essential to communicate with the healthcare experts who treat you when you are managing another health condition alongside HIV. You will often see one HIV healthcare professional and one for the other. Drugs for another condition may interact with your HIV treatment in some cases, making one or both of them less effective, so it is important that your healthcare professionals know about the drugs you are taking. If necessary, your healthcare professionals should speak directly to each other, but this is not always feasible and communication gaps can occur. The more you learn about your health and comprehend it, the more you can assist the information flow between those who support you. Taking some notes with you at each appointment can be useful–such as the names of any medicines you’re taking and any symptoms you’d like to discuss.

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HIV/AIDS does not kill directly. Mortality recorded in those living with HIV/AIDS is as a result of these opportunistic infections. Total compliance with your healthcare provider and your treatment plans can help you live longer and healthier even with the virus.

Other Resources To Help You Understand HIV/AIDS Better:

What Are HIV and AIDS?

HIV Support Groups

Image Credit: Staticflickr

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