People who have HIV /AIDS can face serious health threats from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites known as opportunistic infections. These infections are called "opportunistic" because they take advantage of a weakened immune system, and these complications can be fatal.
What are the opportunistic infections of HIV complications?
Some common opportunistic infections include:
1. Candidiasis of the bronchi, trachea, esophagus, or lungs
Candidiasis, also known as thrush, is caused by a type of common (and usually harmless) fungus called Candida. This opportunistic infection is quite common, usually found in HIV patients with CD4 counts between 200 and 500 cells /mm3.
Candida can affect the skin, nails, and mucous membranes throughout the body, especially in the mouth and vagina. However, candidiasis is only considered OI when it infects the esophagus (swallowing tract) or lower respiratory tract, such as the trachea and bronchi (breathing tract), or deeper lung tissue. The most obvious symptoms are white spots or spots on the tongue or throat. Thrush can be treated with prescribed antifungal drugs. Good oral hygiene and the use of chlorhexidine mouthwash can help prevent this infection.
Pneumocystis infections are among the most serious opportunistic infections for people with HIV. This is caused by several fungi such as Coccidioidomycosis, Cryptococcosis, Histoplasmosis, Pneumocystis jirovecii; several bacteria such as Pneumococcus; and some viruses such as Cytomegalovirus or Herpes simplex. pneumonia (PCP) is the leading cause of death among HIV patients due to complications.
Symptoms include coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing. Sometimes, pneumonia can spread to the brain, causing brain swelling. Good news, this infection can be treated with antibiotics. Treatment must be started quickly to give patients the best chance to recover. At present there is an effective vaccine that can prevent Streptococcus pneumoniae infection. All people who have HIV infection must be vaccinated.
3. Cryptococcus neoformans
Mushrooms Cryptococcus neoforman is a fungus that is usually found in the soil. This infection sometimes only stays in the lungs, but can also spread to other parts of the body, for example to the skin, bones, or urinary tract. Mushrooms usually enter the body through the lungs and can cause pneumonia. The fungus can also spread to the brain, causing brain swelling. If the brain is infected, this condition is called cryptococcal meningitis.
4. Tuberculosis (TB)
Tuberculosis (TB) infection is caused by tuberculosis bacteria. TB can be spread through the air when someone who has active TB coughs, sneezes or speaks. Inhalation of these bacteria can cause infection in the lungs. Symptoms of TB in the lungs include coughing, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. Although it usually occurs in the lungs, the disease can also affect other parts of the body, often lymph nodes, brain, kidney, or bones.
There are some cancers that are considered opportunistic infections, for example:
- Invasive cervical cancer that starts inside the cervix and then spreads (becomes invasive) to other parts of the body. This cancer can be prevented by asking your nurse to run a routine cervical examination.
- Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS) caused by the human herpes virus. KS causes small blood vessels called capillaries to grow abnormally. KS can be life threatening when it affects organs in the body, such as the lungs, lymph nodes or intestines.
The best way to prevent opportunistic infections is to adhere to medication and HIV care therapy as prescribed.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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