AIDS Opportunistic Infections

A person may not show signs or symptoms they have been infected with the HIV virus right away. You may feel some flu-like symptoms but can pass it off as just a bad cold or the flu.

You may have a fever, have a sore throat, suffer from a headache, feel tired, and your glands may swell. Even though you may not be suffering from symptoms of HIV, it is still destroying your immune system. It is not lying dormant in your body.

Opportunistic infections begin to appear because the immune system begins to lose its ability to fight off infections. Microorganisms that do not normally harm a healthy body will cause problems in a body that has an impaired immune system. Opportunistic infections can be found in the esophagus, lungs, spinal cord or brain and the retinas of the eyes.

Damage Accumulates

The immune system continues to be damaged and small infections become larger. The AIDS patient is sick more often and may even develop a more serious disease such as cancer. Each round of illness further weakens the immune system until it can no longer fight bacteria, fungi, and germs.

Symptoms of an opportunistic infection can be several things, and all could be caused by something else. Infections can cause upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Sounds like the flu, right?

You may also feel tired, have a lack of energy, pain when you swallow and have a fever. Could it be a cold? You shouldnt take chances if you are at risk for HIV or AIDS. Other symptoms include unexplained weight loss, confusion, forgetfulness, vision loss, and seizures. These are all symptomatic of opportunistic infections allowed by an impaired immune system.

Preventative Measures

If you know you are HIV positive or have AIDS you must take special precautions to keep from getting even a small infection. Be sure to cook your meat thoroughly and avoid eating undercooked fish or other protein. Wash your hands with soap and water after you have used the rest room and after being in public places. It may be good to carry around an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Many medications are needed to fight AIDS. A patient may be taking up to twenty pills a day to help fight the virus and boost the immune system as much as possible. A patient may develop a strain of AIDS that is resistant to the drugs developed to treat the disease. Some drugs have crippling side effects that degrade the quality of life the patient is able to have.

Treatment guidelines now recommend a delay in starting drug therapy in HIV and AIDS patients if they are not showing signs of the disease. Researchers have discovered that starting the drugs too early may cause serious results.

It may make the disease drug-resistant sooner and could limit future treatment choices. If the patient has high levels of the HIV virus in their blood, treatment should be started immediately.

A doctor that is trained in treating patients with these diseases should treat patients who have HIV or AIDS. A trained medical care team can help the patient decide when to start treatment.