Friday, September 5th, 2014
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a progressive disease that attacks the body's immune system, our natural defense against infections and diseases. HIV is a life-threatening disease that progresses to AIDS, which is the final stages of HIV. Opportunistic infections often arise in those with compromised immune systems. To follow is a brief overview of the most common infections patients with HIV experience.
- Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection that starts in the lungs. HIV patients that are infected with TB often experience excessive coughing, extreme weight loss and fatigue.
- Thrush (candidiasis) is a fungal infection of the mucus lining in the mouth, tongue and throat. Thrush causes a thick white mucus and inflammation making swallowing, chewing, and speaking very painful.
- Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that presents with purple/brown/black lesions on the skin. These lesions can also develop inside the body in the mouth, throat, stomach, digestive tract, and vagina. This disease can damage the immune system of someone with HIV so severely that they are moved into the AIDS stage of the disease.
- Cryptosporidiosis is a medical term for what is commonly called "food poisoning." It is an infection caused by a parasite that lives in soil, food and water. This infection causes dehydration, weight loss, stomach cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting.
- Cryptococcal Meningitis causes inflammation of the membranes and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This infection spreads rapidly within the central nervous system and can cause confusion, headache, weakness, loss of motor function, fevers, seizures, watery diarrhea, neck pain/stiffness, memory loss/mood changes, nausea and vomiting.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) often does not cause symptoms in those with healthy immune systems. However, those with HIV/AIDS experience sore throat, swollen glands, fatigue, fevers, blurred vision, difficulty/painful swallowing, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
- Mycobaterium Aviam Complex (MAC) can quickly become a life threatening infection for someone with HIV/AIDS. Those with HIV/AIDS with a MAC co-infection are likely to experience a high fever, chills, weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue and swollen glands. MAC can lead to other conditions such as blood infections, hepatitis, and pneumonia.
- Hepatitis A is a contagious, generally short-term liver disease that's typically transmitted by sharing food and drinks or needles with someone who has the virus or has come in contact with the feces of someone who is infected.
- Hepatitis B infects nearly 10% of the population of people living with HIV in the United States. Hep-B is transferred much like HIV, through contact with infected blood, feces, urine, semen, or sexual contact.
- Hepatitis C infects nearly 25% of HIV patients in the United States. Hep-C is primarily transmitted through exposure to infected blood, most often by sharing infected needles for drug use. This co-infection is the most fatal for those with HIV, and greatly complicates HIV treatment.
Board Certified Physician in Astoria
If you are living with HIV/AIDS and may have developed a co-infection, seek immediate medical attention. For more information, contact us today and schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Astoria, and you can reach us at (718) 204-7550. We hope to hear from you soon.