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Infections can happen to any individual given specific circumstances, however, infections occurring in HIV/AIDS patients are more commonly referred to opportunistic infections or OIs.

 

HIV/AIDS severely dampens the immune system of the patient, making it less able to fight off infections. It wipes out the white blood cells that eliminate an infection. Specific types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms, which do not commonly result in infections in individuals who are healthy can make those with weak immune system sick. This exposes them to the dangers of suffering from opportunistic infections (OIs). OIs are severe infections that affect an individual due to his or her weak immune system.

 

The strength of an individual’s immune system with HIV can be estimated through the T cell count, which is also referred to as the CD4 count. When the T cell count is under 200 cells per microL, it means that the individual condition has deteriorated to AIDS and, thus, he or she faces the risk of suffering from opportunistic infections. Nevertheless, a lot of opportunistic infections can be inhibited when the individual is placed on specific antibiotics and anti-fungal medications. HIV medications can also enhance the T cell count and reduce the risk of the individual suffering from opportunistic infection. This can normally be minimized when the individual is given continual therapy. Opportunistic infections are generally less widespread and less severe in healthy people.

 

What is an Opportunistic Infection (OI)?

 

Opportunistic infections (OIs) are the types of infection that commonly develop in individuals with weakened immune systems than in people with healthy immune systems. Individuals with weak immune systems are mostly HIV patients and patients receiving chemotherapy treatments.

 

OIs are normally caused by a lot of germs which include viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Germs that cause OIs can be transmitted through various ways including the air, the saliva, semen, blood, urine, poop of an infected person or through contaminated food and water.

 

Individuals who are more at risk of suffering from OIs are those with their CD4 count below 200, but you can contract some OIs when your CD4 count is less than 500.

 

OIs are not as widespread now the way they were when HIV and AIDS first originated, due to the fact that a better treatment is now available which minimizes the quantity of HIV in an individual’s body and this increases the immune system. Nevertheless, a number of people with HIV still develop OIs due to the fact that they were unaware that they were infected with the HIV virus for a good number of years after their infection. Individuals who know that they have HIV, but who are not receiving the antiretroviral treatment (ART), will still be infected by OIs. Individuals who have AIDS, but who are not taking medication for the prevention of OIs, can also suffer from OIs.

 

The best way to stay clear of opportunistic infections is to stay in care and get your lab tests carried out. This will help your doctor and other medical teams know when you may be facing the risk of OIs and ensure that they are prevented. Most opportunistic infections can be prevented by taking additional medications.

 

There are different types of OIs. This includes the following amongst others:

 

  • Bacterial infections like tuberculosis and similar disease, Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC)
  • Viral infections like cytomegalovirus (CMV) and hepatitis C
  • Fungal infections such as yeast infections, cryptococcal meningitis, pneumocystis carinii pneumonia(PCP) and histoplasmosis
  • Parasitic infections like crypto (cryptosporidiosis) and toxo (toxoplasmosis)
  • Having HIV/AIDS and complications from common illnesses like flu.
  • Salmonella infection
  • Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infection. This is a viral infection that can result in a sore mouth and face
  • Salmonella infection a bacterial infection that affects the gut.
  • Candidiasis (or thrush). This is a fungal infection of the mouth, esophagus, or vagina
  • Toxoplasmosis (TB). This is a parasitic infection that can have a harmful effect on the brain.

 

You can avoid being infected by taking medication for your HIV/AIDS. Taking HIV medications prevents HIV from injuring and weakening your immune system. Due to the fact that HIV medicines are now extensively used in the United States, the number of people who develop OIs has drastically reduced. You can also limit your exposure to causative factors by engaging in safe sex, washing your hands thoroughly and frequently, and cooking your foods properly.

 

Why Do HIV/AIDS Patients Get OIs?

 

As soon as an individual is infected with HIV, the virus starts to multiply and begins to injure the individual’s immune system and immune function. A weak immune system makes it difficult for an individual’s body to ward off HIV-related OIs.

 

HIV medication inhibits the capacity of HIV to cause damage to the immune system. However, if the individual does not take the medication, HIV will gradually be destroyed by the immune system. Most OIs, for instance, the ones that contain specific forms of pneumonia and tuberculosis (TB), are taken as AIDS-defining conditions. AIDS-defining conditions are infections and cancers that are life-threatening in individuals suffering from HIV.

 

Prevalence of OIs in People with HIV/AIDS

 

OIs were formally the leading cause of death among individuals with HIV before the advent of medications used in the treatment of HIV infection. Now that HIV medicines are very widespread in the US, the occurrence of OIs among aids patients has been reduced. HIV medications reduce the ability of HIV to damage the immune system and by so doing, it impedes the occurrence of OIs.

 

Prevention of Opportunistic Infections

 

The best ways to prevent yourself from becoming infected with an OI are to start medical care and to take HIV medications according to the doctor’s prescription. Sometimes, your doctor will also recommend drugs specifically for the prevention of specific types of OIs. When you take your HIV drug, you can reduce the amount of HIV in your body and this would, in turn, increase your immune health and prevent you from being infected by OIs.

 

It is particularly significant that you go through standard check-ups. While you go, remember to go with all your medications and take the drugs according to the recommended dosage and time. You may have to take HIV medications for the length of your life. Other things you can also do to improve your immune function and minimize opportunistic infections include the following:

 

  • Use condoms every time you have sex and in the correct manner to limit your exposure to sexually transmitted infections.
  • Don’t share tools for drug injection with anyone. Blood infected with hepatitis C can stay in syringes and needles after they are used and the infection can be transferred from one user to another user.
  • You need to get vaccinated with a suitable vaccine. Your medical teams will advise you on the best vaccine to take.
  • Limit your contact with germs that cause OIs. For instance, germs that cause tuberculosis are found in the poops, saliva, or on the skin of animals.
  • Be cautious with things you eat and drink. Avoid eating undercooked eggs, unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheeses, unpasteurized fruit juices, or raw seed sprouts. Avoid drinking water that is not treated, like water from lakes or rivers. Depending on your country, tap water is also not safe for drinking. Make use of bottled water or water filters.
  • If you are visiting abroad ensure that the food and water you eat and drink will not make you sick.
  • Find out from your doctor other safety precautions you need to take at work, at home, and while on a holiday trip to ensure you stay safe.

 

Treatment of Opportunistic Infections

 

There are various medications to treat HIV-related OIs. These include antiviral, antibiotic, and anti-fungal medication. The type of drug you will need to take depends on the particular OI.

 

As soon as the OI is effectively treated, an individual may continue to use the same medication or extra medication to inhibit the reoccurrence of OIs. An OI can be a severe medical condition that may be difficult to treat. The development of an OI possibly implies you have a weak immune system and that you are not putting your HIV properly in check. This is why it is essential to take your medication according to the prescription and book appointments with your doctor for routine checks to minimize the spread of the virus. This also ensures that you keep your immune system healthy.

 

Understanding Common Opportunistic Infections

 

HIV and Rheumatic Disease

 

Rheumatic diseases that are linked with HIV affect individuals of all age groups. However, they are more common among individuals between twenty to forty years of age. An individual may contract HIV-related rheumatic diseases before being infected with HIV. The signs and symptoms of rheumatic diseases, their treatment, and HIV infection can all have common characteristics. The majority of people with HIV-related rheumatic diseases get better after several HIV treatments.

 

Several older medications for HIV and AIDS can cause joint and soft tissue ache and muscle weakness. Others are associated with metabolic bone disease. Many people with HIV experience musculoskeletal issues with pain affecting the joints, muscles, and bones. HIV infection can result in rheumatic (joint and muscle) which can include joint pain, arthritis, muscle pain, weak spot, and exhaustion.

 

However, it is not every muscle, bone, and joint complaint experienced by people who have HIV come from HIV. Some of them occur due to other reasons. It can also come with supplementary articular symptoms, like uveitis or eye inflammation, which may also exist in individuals with HIV who are suffering from arthritis. Occasionally, the individual starts to experience these symptoms before observing the HIV signs.

 

HIV-associated rheumatic diseases are diseases of the joints and muscles that affect an individual with HIV infection. It can result in aching and inflammation. Pain in the joints, soft tissues, adjoining joints, and muscles are frequently the foremost symptoms experienced by 5% of HIV positive patients.

 

Less widespread rheumatic diseases that can be experienced by individuals suffering from HIV are:

 

  • Infection of the joints also known as septic arthritis, muscles infections known as myositis and infection of the bones known as osteomyelitis.
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Polymyositis or irritation of muscles
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Vasculitis or swelling of blood vessels

 

Individuals with HIV may experience joint, soft tissue, muscle, or bone issues from the medication they are taking for the management of HIV. These include things like gouty arthritis, tenosynovitis, inflammatory myopathy or muscle disease, osteonecrosis, osteoporosis, and lipodystrophy or atypical fat circulation. Nearly all the issues are connected with taking drugs that are no longer prescribed as the first set of treatments by experts. It is progressively more uncommon to experience these types of side effects with the drugs that are presently prescribed by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

 

Even when the proper medication is used, the individual may experience Immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome. As the CD4 T cells start to recuperate their number and function, individuals infected with HIV may experience overpowering systemic inflammatory reactions together with fever, malaise, and deterioration of formerly affected organ systems.

 

Causes of HIV-Associated Rheumatic Diseases

 

HIV-related rheumatic illnesses can be experienced by both males and females, irrespective of their ages and their ethnic background. Widespread risk factors of HIV infection include unprotected sex and the administration of IV intravenous medication with shared needles. There are many reasons why individuals with HIV experience rheumatic disease. The infection can be due to direct cause, while some can also be caused by other viruses or bacteria.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment of HIV-Related Rheumatic Diseases

 

HIV-related rheumatic diseases can be treated with the use of antiretroviral drugs. The combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) use started in the mid-1990s. cART is frequently referred to as the “cocktail” of HIV medications due to the fact that it is the unification of up to three HIV medications. This treatment has tremendously increased the symptoms of HIV, in addition to the ones that affect the joints and the muscles.

 

the cART has minimized the number of HIV patients that suffer from a rheumatic disease. And when they do get one, it is much easier to treat. The majorities of HIV patients respond very well to regular treatments. This is a combination of pain relief medications and anti-inflammatory medicines given to reduce inflammation, aching, and fever.

 

Individuals who respond poorly are prescribed medications that repress their immune system. They may also require physical therapy to alleviate symptoms, avoid deforming their joints, and improve their function.

 

How to Prevent HIV-Related Rheumatic Diseases

 

Most factors that increase your risk of suffering from HIV also increase your risk for HIV-related rheumatic disease. To minimize your risk of suffering from the two diseases, you should engage in safe sexual practices. If you are HIV infected, you need to take your medication as the doctor prescribed. Again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that individuals with HIV go for HIV routine screening in all healthcare settings for individuals between the age of thirteen and sixty-four years old. Specific groups ought to be more concentrated upon such as seniors with an active sex life together, pregnant women that are mostly less than 24 years, and men who engage in sexual activities with fellow men.

 

How to Manage HIV & Rheumatic Diseases

 

Individuals with HIV who have money to pay for cART and whose body can tolerate them commonly live longer. Nevertheless, HIV-related rheumatic disease can result in uneasiness, weakness of the muscle, and impaired function. To stay healthy as an HIV patient apart from taking your medication as prescribed, you must also eat a balanced diet and engage in proper exercise. If you experience weak joints or pain or weakness of the muscles while you take HIV drugs, take the medication to your doctor, and have a thorough review of the medications you are taking. Find out if any of the symptoms you are experiencing is a result of the medication you are taking.

 

Toxoplasmosis in HIV-Infected Patients

 

Toxoplasmosis is an infection that is experienced by people all over the world. It is usually caused by a Toxoplasma parasite that infests the individual without resulting in any serious symptoms. Nevertheless, the parasite sticks with the individual’s body and can result in a severe brain infection among people suffering from HIV/AIDS.

 

Individuals that are diagnosed with HIV are usually recommended to go for a blood test to check if they have been infected by the Toxoplasma parasite before that time.

 

Toxoplasmosis is the most widespread central nervous system infection experienced by people diagnosed with the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), especially those of them that are not being given suitable prophylaxis. The Toxoplasmosis infection is spread all over the globe and transmitted by the intracellular protozoan parasite known as Toxoplasma gondii. Individuals with a healthy immune system that are suffering from standard toxoplasmosis are normally asymptomatic and dormant infection can stick with the individual all through his or her life. However, in individuals with a weak immune system, particularly people suffering from AIDS, the parasite can become activated again and result in disease, especially when his or her CD4 count measures lower than 100 cells per microL.

 

Epidemiology

 

If the T count of a patient with AIDS is below 100 cells per microL, the individual is recommended to take preventive treatment. There are some antibiotics used to prevent PCP. These antibiotics can also be used to prevent Toxoplasma. The likelihood of reactivated toxoplasmosis emerging among AIDS patients who have a CD4 count less than 100 cells per microL, who are toxoplasma seropositive and are not being given efficient prophylaxis or antiretroviral therapy is as large as 30%. This reactivation normally takes place in the central nervous system (CNS). 

 

Transmission

 

Human beings normally get the infection by eating infectious oocysts, normally from soil or cat litter infected with catlike poops, or non-properly cooked meat from an animal that is infected. If an individual swallows T. gondii oocysts, the parasite raids the intestinal epithelium and circulate all through the body. Afterward, they encyst into any form of composite cell and remain inactive inside the tissues of the individual all through the person’s life.

 

How Common is the Infection?

 

The spread of the infection caused by T. gondii differs greatly across different countries of the world and the range differs roughly by 11% in the United States to over 80% in some European, Latin American, and African nations. Generally, the seroprevalence of antibodies to T. gondii amongst HIV-infected individuals is similar to the rate of seropositivity in the general population and is not related to possessing a cat. Nevertheless, the prevalence may be associated with age. For instance, a research study with HIV-infected women in the United States found that individuals 50 years old or younger are probably going to be more seropositive compared to younger women.

 

Blood Test and Prevention

 

If the result of the blood test indicates that the individual has not previously contracted the toxoplasmosis infection, it is very essential for the individual to stay away from such environment that would expose him or her to the infection.

 

Causes and Sources

 

The widespread sources of the parasite are raw or uncommon meats like lamb, beef, pork, or venison meats; cat stool, and soil.

 

Prevention

 

The preventive methods an individual infected with HIV, who have not been exposed to Toxoplasma in the past, include the following:

 

  • Avoid eating raw or uncommon lamb, beef, pork, or venison. Meat that is pink in color shows that it is not properly cooked. The interior temperature of the meat must be up to 165ºF and above.
  • Do not change your cats litter by yourself. If no one is around to assist you, make use of hand gloves and wash your hands properly afterward to ensure that they don’t touch your hands. Also, try to avoid touching wandering cats.
  • Wash hands after farming.
  • Always wash your hands and cooking worktops after preparing raw meat or poultry.
  • Always wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly if you want to eat them raw.

 

HIV and Hepatitis B

 

Hepatitis B is a liver disease that is caused by a virus known as Hepatitis B virus (HBV). When an individual is infected with both HIV and HBV, it is referred to as HIV/HBV coinfection. Individuals with HIV/HBV coinfection ought to be treated for the two-health condition. The abbreviation HBV can be used to represent the virus or the disease itself.

 

HBV can either be a quick-fix or acute condition or a long-term illness which can be chronic.

 

  • Acute HBV condition can exist for less than six months after an individual is exposed to HBV. Acute HBV can deteriorate to chronic HBV, although this is not always the case.
  • Chronic HBV is a lifelong disease. Without treatment, chronic HBV can cause liver cancer or liver damage that leads to liver failure. HBV is a contagious disease that can spread from person to person.

 

Transmission of HBV

 

HBV is transmitted through contact with the blood, semen, or other body fluid of an individual who has HBV. In the US, HBV is most commonly dispersed through sexual activities.

 

HBV can also be dispersed through the following methods:

 

  • By using the needle or other tools used for drug injection which has been used for an individual with HBV
  • By using razors, toothbrushes, or related materials that has been used by an infected person.
  • From an unintended puncture or cut from an HBV-infected needle or other pointed materials
  • Congenitally through a mother to her baby during childbirth

 

Connection Between HIV and HBV

 

HIV and HBV both can be dispersed through the following ways: semen, blood, or other body fluids of an infected person. Thus, the key risk factors for HIV and HBV are equivalent: having unprotected sex and medical treatments that involve the use injection medicines.

 

It was found by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that roughly 10% of individuals with HIV in the United States also suffer from HBV. Infection with both HIV and HBV is known as HIV/HBV coinfection. Chronic HBV worsens faster and easily deteriorates to cirrhosis, which is the final stage of liver disease and liver cancer in individuals suffering from a combination of HIV and HBV coinfection. However, chronic HBV doesn’t seem to cause HIV to increase faster in individuals with HIV/HBV coinfection.

 

Prevention of HBV Infection

 

The best prevention method for HBV infection is through the hepatitis B vaccine.

 

CDC recommends that individuals with HIV, and those at risk for HIV, get the HBV vaccine or the combination of the two hepatitis A virus [HAV]/HBV vaccine. The housemates and sexual partners of individuals living with HBV need to also be vaccinated. HIV patients can also prevent infection from HBV through the following:

 

  • Make use of condoms during sex to lesson HBV infection risk and risk with other sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis.
  • Avoid using injections. However, if you must, avoid sharing needles, syringes, or other tools use in injecting medications.
  • Don’t share toothbrushes, razors, or other personal materials that may be infected by the blood of the person suffering from HB.
  • If you are getting a tattoo or body piercing, ensure the instruments you are using are sterile.

 

Why People with HIV Must be Tested for HBV

 

All people infected with HIV ought to be tested for HBV. Testing for HIV can discover HBV infection even when an individual has no symptoms of the disease.

 

There are many forms of blood tests that can be conducted for HBV. The outcome of the different tests has a different significance. For instance, a positive hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) test outcome is used to indicate that an individual has acute or chronic HBV and can transfer the virus to others.

 

Why HBV Therapy is Essential for HBV/HIV Coinfected Patients

 

  • Liver disease may deteriorate faster in individuals co-infected with HBV/HIV and could result in severe liver disease impediments like cirrhosis and liver cancer at early ages.
  • Once HIV patients co-infected with HBV start to take antiretroviral therapy their risk of developing hepatotoxicity is increased more than in individuals who only have HIV alone.
  • Hepatitis B in HIV-infected patients has a close link with a lower CD4 T-cell count than HIV-monoinfected individuals.

 

It has not yet been discovered scientifically whether hepatitis B results in an increase of the HIV disease or if hepatitis B changes the response of HIV patients to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Nonetheless, when the individual starts the ART therapy, he or she could face the risk associated with a higher risk of liver inflammation in coinfected individuals, which usually results in ALT (Alanine Aminotransferase) flickers or an increase in liver enzymes. This may reproduce both an immune response against hepatitis B and/or drug toxicity.

 

Symptoms of HBV Infection

 

Many people with acute HBV don’t experience symptoms of infection. A number of people can exhibit symptoms of HBV immediately after they have been infected. Mild to serious symptoms of acute HBV are listed below:

 

  • Appetite loss
  • Weariness
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Stomach ache
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored poop
  • Joint and tummy pain
  • Jaundice or yellow color of the skin and whitening of the eyes.

 

A number of people with chronic HBV don’t exhibit symptoms for a number of years. Abnormal liver function tests may be the first indication of chronic HBV infection.

 

Treatment for HBV

 

Commonly, HBV is treated with antiviral drugs. The medication helps to slow down or inhibit HBV from injuring the liver. People with HIV/HBV coinfection ought to be treated for the two infections. A number of HIV medications are effective for the treatment of both HIV and HBV.

 

The choices of medications to treat HIV/HBV coinfection vary depending on the individual. For instance, a number of people may take just medications that are also efficient against HBV. Other individuals may take HIV drugs and an HBV antiviral medicine. If you have HIV/HBV coinfection, speak with your health care provider to discover which medication is the best for you.

 

HIV and Hepatitis C Infection

 

Hepatitis C is a liver disease caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). HCV is a communicable disease that can be transferred from one individual and another. HCV is mainly dispersed from one individual to the other through contact with infected blood. The majority of people with HCV get the infection by sharing needles or other tools for injecting drugs. The abbreviation HCV can be used for representing the virus or the disease that results from it. HCV can be acute type which lasts short-term or a long-term or chronic illness:

 

  • Acute HCV manifests within six months after an individual contracts HCV. In most people, acute HCV becomes chronic HCV.
  • Chronic HCV can last for a long time. If the individual does not receive treatment, the chronic HCV can result to liver cancer or serious liver damage that can result to liver failure.

 

Mode of Transmission

 

HCV can be transferred from one individual to the other, mainly through blood contact of an individual who is infected with HCV. In the United States, HCV is mostly dispersed by sharing needles or other injection drug equipment with an individual who has been infected by HCV.

 

Connection Between HIV and HCV

 

HIV and HCV infection can both be dispersed through the blood. Two of them also have as their risk factor the use of injection drugs. Sharing needles or other drug-injection equipment increase the risk of contracting HIV or HCV from any blood that has been previously infected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data specified that roughly 25% of individuals with HIV in the United States also suffer from HCV. It also states that roughly 50 – 90% of individuals who make use of injections suffer from HCV. When an individual is infected with both conditions, it is referred to as HIV/HCV coinfection.

 

In individuals with HIV/HCV coinfection, HIV may make severe HCV to progress quicker. It is not yet known if HCV increases the worsening effects of HIV.

 

Prevention of HCV

 

The most appropriate way to protect an individual against HCV is not through drug injections. If you are injecting drugs, it is better to make use of fresh and sterile needles. Avoid making use of needles previously used or sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment for injecting drugs.

 

Other things individuals with HIV can do to protect themself from HCV infection are:

 

  • Avoid sharing toothbrushes, razors, or other personal items that may be infected by the blood of a sufferer.
  • If you have a tattoo or body piercing, ensure the instruments used are germ-free.
  • During sex, make use of condoms. Although it can be contacted through sexual contacts, the risk of HCV through this form is usually minimal. However, the risk increases if an individual is HIV positive.
  • Condoms also minimize the risk of HIV transmission and infection with other sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis.

 

People with HIV and Test for HCV

 

All individuals with HIV need to undergo tests for HCV. Normally, an individual goes through an HCV antibody test as the first line of treatment. This test is carried out to examine if the antibodies of HCV are present in the blood. HCV antibodies are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HCV infection. If an individual shows a positive result on an HCV antibody test, it implies that the individual has been uncovered to HCV at a point in their life.

 

When the result of the test reads positive, it must be confirmed by a second test. The second test is carried out to verify if HCV is present in the blood of the individual. If the result is positive, it means the individual is suffering from HCV.

 

Symptoms of HCV infection

 

Many people who have acute HCV don’t experience symptoms. But a number of people can have signs of HCV shortly after becoming infected. Gentle to a more serious symptom of acute HCV can include the following:

 

  • Fever
  • Exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach ache
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice or yellowish skin or whitening of the eyes

 

The majority of patients suffering from chronic HCV have no visible signs. Chronic HCV is frequently discovered by conducting a standard test for liver function.

 

Treatment for HCV

 

HCV is treated with antiviral medications. The drug is very effective for slowing down or stopping HCV from injuring the liver. A number of recent medications for the treatment of hepatitis C are more efficient. They come with fewer side effects than older medications. The newer HCV medicines may get rid of HCV from the body of the individual entirely.

 

Individuals with HIV and HCV coinfection are treated for the infections concurrently. The commencement of the treatment and the medication to use depend on the individual. This is essential because a number of HIV and HCV medications may affect the health if used together. It is better to speak with your doctor for advice if you have HIV/HCV coinfection.

 

Taking HIV and HCV drugs concurrently may increase the risk of drug-drug interactions and side effects. Health care providers recommend HIV and HCV medicines cautiously to avoid drug-drug interactions and strongly monitor those receiving the medications for any side effects.

 

Histoplasmosis

 

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus or mold known as Histoplasma. The infection is transmitted to an individual when he or she breathes the fungal spores. It cannot be transferred from an individual to individual through physical contact.

 

The fungus usually grows in soil and places that are contaminated with bat or bird droppings. It is frequently seen in places like Mississippi, Ohio, and St. Lawrence River valleys, the Caribbean, southern Mexico, and some parts of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. It can result in pneumonia in individuals who are diagnosed with HIV, especially those with a low T cell count, and who resides in places with a high risk of infection.

 

Individuals who are visiting or living in these places must avoid engaging in activities that place them on a high risk of suffering from the condition like digging up of soil under bird roosting sites, knocking down of old buildings or investigating caves.

 

An anti-fungal treatment may be prescribed for individuals that have a low T cell count usually less than 150 cells per microL who are at high risk of being infected; this includes individual living in the locations where the infections are frequently found.

 

Histoplasmosis is not commonly serious and doesn’t come with symptoms. If you ever get sick, it normally affects your lungs. Symptoms of Histoplasmosis are nausea, feverishness, chest aches, and a dry cough. In serious instances, histoplasmosis can disperse to other organs of the body. When this happens, it is referred to as disseminated disease. This frequently occurs in newborns, young children, seniors, and individuals who have problems with their immune system and immune function.

 

Your doctor may conduct a lot of tests to make the diagnosis. These are chest x-rays, CT scan of the lungs, or examination of blood, urine, or tissues for symptoms of the fungus. Mild instances of the infection are usually reduced after sometimes without any form of treatment. However, chronic or more serious cases are managed with the use of anti-fungal medications.

 

Test and Diagnoses

 

Fungal tests are normally used to diagnose a fungal infection for proper guidance on the treatment of the condition and to examine how effective the medications used are. A number of less serious skin and yeast infections would require a clinical examination of the body parts that are affected. This can suitably be carried out through a microscopic examination of the sample. It is sufficient to discover the presence of fungus and not a specific type of fungus. The medical team can make use of a number of topical and oral anti-fungal drugs and medications.

 

  • To get persistent, deeper, or systemic infections, a lot of tests may be carried out. To discover the type of fungus that is present, fungal cultures are normally utilized.
  • Most fungi grow slowly. Tests, thus, usually take weeks to produce results. Susceptibility testing is normally carried out on fungi isolated from a culture. This can be used to determine the anti-fungal drug, which can work best from the treatment of the condition.
  • Tests for fungal antigens and antibodies may be prescribed to check if an individual has, or recently had, a particular type of fungal infection. They are faster than fungal cultures. However, they are used to test for particular species of specific fungus. Therefore, your medical team must be aware of the type of fungus to test for.
  • Most people who have the infection also suffered from fungal antibodies in the past from a previous exposure to the organism, thus one antibody test may not be sufficient to verify if the infection is present in the present situation. Often times, blood samples are taken two to three weeks difference for acute and convalescent results. The test is usually conducted to show if antibody levels (titers) are altering. The evaluation of these results may take quite a few weeks.
  • Molecular tests can also be used to determine the fungi that have grown in culture. It can occasionally be used to discover particular fungus present in the sample immediately.

 

Who is at Risk for Histoplasmosis?

 

Histoplasmosis can be contracted by any individual who lives in a high-risk zone or an area where Histoplasma lives in the environment. Histoplasmosis is frequently connected with activities that upset soil, especially soil that is made up of bird or bat droppings. Specific groups of individuals face a greater risk of developing more serious types of Histoplasma. This includes individuals with weak immune systems like people who:

 

  • Have HIV/AIDS
  • Did organ transplanting
  • Are on medications like corticosteroids or TNF-inhibitors
  • Are Infant
  • Are Seniors 55 years old and more

 

Prevention of Histoplasmosis

 

Because the disease is transferred through inhalation of the causative organism, it is very difficult for the individual to avoid contracting the disease if one is living in locations that are highly exposed to these factors.

 

If you are living in areas that have a greater risk to the infection, you must try to avoid engaging in activities that are linked with the spread of the condition like cleaning chicken coops and similar activities. You should get professional cleaners who specialize in the removal of dangerous waste to help you clean huge amounts of bird or bat droppings.

 

Treatment for Histoplasmosis

 

Most infected people would require anti-fungal treatment for histoplasmosis.

 

Your doctor may conduct a lot of tests to make the diagnosis. These are chest x-ray, CT scan of the lungs, or examination of blood, urine, or tissues for symptoms of the fungus. Mild instances of the infection are usually reduced, sometimes without any form of treatment. However, chronic or more serious cases are managed with the use of anti-fungal medications.

 

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

 

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a widespread virus that infects a lot of people no matter their age. Roughly one in three children in the US are already infected with CMV before they are five years old. More than half of the adults who are forty years old have already contracted CMV infection. As soon as CMV is found on the body of an individual, it stays there all throughout their life and can reactivate it. An individual can also be re-infected with another type of virus or strain. Commonly, a number of adults with CMV are usually diagnosed by the time they get to forty years of age. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that mostly infects people all over the world. CMV can result in a calm illness with fever and body aches, but sometimes, those infected may not experience any symptom.

 

CMV can stay in the body of AIDS patient and cause sickness in the eyes, digestive system, brain, and spinal cord. The most widespread CMV infection is eye or retina infection. It can create a blurring effect and lead to increasing loss of vision in patients with AIDS. If the blood test of a person with HIV has a sign of previous infection, you need to do a routine eye examination of your retina if your T cell counts are less than 250 cells per microL, whether or not they have any eye symptoms.

 

CMV, apart from causing problems for people with weak immune systems, can also cause problems for a child in the womb if the mother is infected with the virus when she is pregnant. The majority of people infected by the viral condition do not have any visible signs. This is due to the fact that the healthy immune system normally prevents the carrier of the virus from making him or her sick. Nevertheless, CMV infection can result in severe health issues in individuals who have weakened immune systems. It also severely affects kids infected while they were in the womb.

 

Signs and Symptoms

 

Many people who are infected with CMV have no symptoms and aren’t aware that they have been infected. In some instances, healthy people who are infected may suffer from mild illness which can include:

 

  • Fever
  • Painful throat
  • Exhaustion
  • Inflamed glands.
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Exhaustion
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle pains
  • Appetite loss

 

Babies born with CMV in the womb are usually born very sick at the delivery time. Some of the symptoms shown by babies when they are born are:

 

  • Jaundice or yellow skin color
  • Low birth weight
  • Seizures
  • Inflamed spleen
  • Inflamed liver
  • Pneumonia, pneumonitis or the swelling of the respiratory tract

 

Individuals that are receiving immunosuppressant medicines for conditions, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or from an organ transplant, may experience serious symptoms. Immunosuppressant medicines reduce or restrain the immune system. Symptoms of serious CMV are:

 

  • Blindness
  • Swelling of the respiratory tract
  • Diarrhea
  • Esophagus or intestines bleeding ulcers
  • Seizures

 

On rare occasions, CMV can result in mononucleosis, hepatitis or liver issues in healthy individuals. However, people with weak immune systems who are infected with CMV can experience more serious symptoms affecting their eyes, lungs, liver, esophagus, stomach, and intestines. Babies born with CMV can have brain, liver, spleen, lung, and growth issues. Children born with congenital CMV infection commonly have hearing issues. Some are discovered immediately, while others are not discovered until late into their childhood.

 

Transmission and Prevention

 

The body fluids of individuals with CMV may contain CMV virus. It can be found in their body fluids like urine, saliva, blood, tears, semen, and breast milk. You can get CMV from an individual who is infected through the following manners:

 

  • Through direct contact with the urine or saliva of the infected individual, especially when it is from babies and young children
  • Through sexual contact
  • Through the breast milk
  • From organs infected by the virus. It can also be contacted through infected blood during blood transfusions
  • It can be transferred from mother to child during pregnancy (congenital CMV)

 

Standard hand washing, especially after changing diapers, is highly essential to ensure you minimize the dissemination of the infection, and may lessen exposures to CMV.

 

Diagnosis of CMV

 

CMV infections are normally diagnosed via blood tests

 

How CMV is Treated

 

Healthy individuals who caught CMV infections normally do not need any medical treatment. Medications can treat CMV infection in individuals with weak immune systems and in infants with congenital CMV infection. Regular antibiotics cannot treat CMV. It is usually managed with antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs slow down the virus activities but do not cure it.

 

Treatment to prevent infection with CMV is not generally recommended as it doesn’t help survival. Nevertheless, an individual with early symptoms of CMV retinitis like blurry vision, blind spots, flashing lights, or floaters must contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible because this treatment is efficient if treated as soon as they manifest.

 

What Causes Cytomegalovirus?

 

The virus that causes cytomegalovirus is related to the viruses that cause chickenpox and mononucleosis. The germs find their way into body fluids, like saliva, blood, urine, semen, and breast milk. An individual can transfer the virus to others when it is active in his or her system. It is normally transmitted from one person to the other through sexual contact or contact with the blood and other fluids in the body. CMV can seldom be transferred through the processes of blood transfusion or organ transplantation.

 

An infection of CMV in a pregnant woman can cause a miscarriage, giving birth to a dead child or death of the newborn. Newborns who survive are at an increased risk for hearing loss and mental disability. However, only a small percentage of newborns infected with CMV during pregnancy experience problems from the virus. Most are born healthy or with only mild CMV symptoms.

 

If you are pregnant and your baby has CMV, your doctor will likely check your baby for any health problems once he or she is born so they can be treated early. Treatable symptoms in newborns include pneumonia, hearing loss, and inflammation of the eye.

 

Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC)

 

Mycobacterium Avium Complex (MAC) is a severe sickness caused by common bacteria. MAC is also referred to as MAI (Mycobacterium Avium Intracellulare). MAC infection can be situated only on a single part of your body or scattered all over the body during, which it is occasionally referred to as DMAC. MAC infection frequently happens in the lungs, intestines, bone marrow, liver, and spleen.

 

The bacteria that cause MAC are extremely widespread. They are located in water, soil, dust, and food. It is roughly prevalent in the body of every individual. The body of an individual with a healthy immune system will fight against MAC. However, individuals who have a weak immune system can easily suffer from MAC disease. Roughly half of the individuals who have AIDS are likely to suffer from MAC, particularly if their CD4 cell count is not up to 50 per microL. MAC nearly never results in sickness in individuals with over 100 CD4 cells.

 

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) can make the individual start to experience high fevers, abdominal pain, and weight loss. Mycobacterium avium can be found all through the environment; you can hardly protect yourself from being infected by taking personal protective measures. Nevertheless, an antibiotic can be given to the individual to help prevent infection from the virus. HIV patients with the T cell count less than 50 cells per microL are commonly recommended to take the antibiotics. They’d continue the treatment until their T cell count goes higher than 100 cells per microL within a span of at least three months.

 

Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) infection can be caused by one of two nontuberculous mycobacterial species which can be M. aviumor M. intracellulare. These organisms can infect individuals suffering from HIV infection or an individual who is not HIV positive. The two major forms of MAC infection in individuals with HIV are disseminated disease and focal lymphadenitis. As opposed to these rare pulmonary infection is commonly witnessed in immune-competent patients.

 

Among people infected with HIV, MAC infection is most commonly witnessed in individuals with a CD4 count less than 50 cells per microL. It was found that there is a remarkable reduction in the number of new cases of MAC infection due to the treatment with the use of prophylaxis to treat MAC infection than when the epidemic originally appeared. This is even additionally reduced with the introduction of efficient antiretroviral therapy and broad use.

 

Dramatic declines in the rate of new MAC cases accompanied the use of prophylaxis against MAC infection early in the epidemic and more recently, the widespread use of effective antiretroviral therapy.

 

How MAC is Transmitted

 

The method of infection for Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is through breathing or ingestion. MAC causative organisms are everywhere in the environment. They can also be found in the water and soil.

 

There is no requirement for individuals hospitalized with MAC infection to be isolated given that individual-to-individual or common source spread of the disease is uncommon. In one study that involves 32 individuals with AIDS and MAC from a daycare center in France that lasted for more than a thirteen-month period, the strains of organisms were varied by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. The second series of 130 isolates from children, both infected with HIV and those not infected, also did not exhibit a clonal origin for the strains, even though HIV-infected children were frequently infected more than the controls.

 

Diagnoses of MAC

 

MAC symptoms include high fevers, colds, diarrhea, weight reduction, tummy ache, fatigue, and anemia. When MAC spreads in the body, it can result in blood infections, hepatitis, pneumonia, and other severe health issues.

 

Most opportunistic infections can result in these symptoms. Thus, your health care provider will likely check your blood, urine, or saliva to examine if they are infected by bacteria that result in MAC. The sample will be tested to check the type of bacteria it contains. This is usually carried out through a process referred to as culture. This can last for many weeks. Even when you are infected with MAC, discovering MAC bacteria is difficult.

 

If your CD4 cell count is not up to fifty, your health care provider may treat you for MAC, even without a specific diagnosis. This is done because this infection, widespread among HIV patients, can hardly be diagnosed.

 

Treatment of MAC Infection

 

The bacteria that cause MAC can mutate and build up resistance to a number of the drugs that are utilized to treat it. Mac can be treated by your doctor with the use of antibacterial drugs or antibiotics. The two medications that are commonly utilized are azithromycin or clarithromycin together with three other medications. MAC treatment needs to be given throughout the entire life of the individual. If the individual ceases to use it, the condition will be reversed.

 

People respond in a different way to anti-MAC drugs. Your doctor would work together with you to discover the particular medication that is most efficient for you.

 

The MAC drugs that are and their side effects are:

 

  • Amikacin (Amkin): Amikin can result in kidney and ear problems; taken as an injection.
  • Azithromycin or Zithromax: This can result in side effects like vomiting, headaches, sickness, and diarrhea. It is normally taken as capsules or given as an intravenous drug.
  • Ciprofloxacin (Cipro or Ciloxan): This can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; taken as tablets or intravenously.
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin): This can result in an unsettled stomach, headaches, nausea, and watery poop. It is taken as capsules or intravenously. You must not take a maximum dose of 500 milligrams every day. You are required to take share this maximum dosage two times every day.
  • Ethambutol as well-referred to as Myambutol can cause nausea, vomiting, vision problems.
  • Rifabutin, also known as Mycobutin, can result in rashes, nausea, and anemia. Many drug interactions.
  • Rifampin as well-referred to as Rifampicin, Rifadin and Rimactane can cause fever, chills, muscle, or bone pain. This medication can make your pee, sweat, and saliva to change into red-orange color and this could stain contact lenses. It can interfere with birth control pills and other medications.

 

Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy

 

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a disease that affects the white matter of the brain. It is caused by a virus infection that affects the cells that produce myelin. Myelin is the substance that insulates nerve cells known as neurons.  Polyomavirus JC, which is frequently known as the JC virus, is carried by most people and it doesn’t cause any harm. However, when this virus is present in individuals with low immune systems, like individuals suffering from HIV, it could deteriorate into serious conditions. The sickness is not common but it is frequently found among individuals receiving persistent corticosteroid or immunosuppressive therapy for an organ transplant. It can also manifest in patients suffering from cancers like Hodgkin’s disease or lymphoma.

 

People who have autoimmune issues like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus, a few of them treated with biological therapies that permit JC virus reactivation, also have a higher risk of suffering from PML. PML is mainly experienced by people with HIV-1 infection / acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

 

Studies

 

It was found by studies that before effective antiretroviral therapy, individuals, about 5%, who are positive with HIV-1 ultimately develop PML, which is an AIDS-defining sickness. Nevertheless, the present management procedures for HIV with the use of antiretroviral drugs (ART), which efficiently boost the immune function makes it possible for individuals as much as half of all HIV-PML patients to live. Irrespective of this, they could occasionally suffer from inflammatory reaction in the parts of the brain affected by PML.  

 

Symptoms of PML

 

There are many symptoms of PML and they can cause substantial amounts of damage in the brain and may develop within a few weeks to some months. The most significant symptoms are awkwardness, progressive tiredness, and visual, speech, and personality impairments. The increase of the defects results in severe disability and often death of the individual.

 

Diagnosis of PML

 

The diagnosis of PML can be carried out through brain biopsy or through a combination of examination of the deteriorating condition of the disease or constant white matter’s lesions. This can be seen through the use of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and the discovery of the JC virus in spinal fluid.

 

Diagnosis

 

PML generally result to 39 – 50% within the first few months it was diagnosed. However, it varies according to the seriousness of the core disease and treatment received. Individuals who survive PML can be left with serious neurological incapacitations.

 

Treatment of PML

 

Presently, the greatest accessible treatment is by reversing the immune-deficient condition, given that there are no efficient medications that obstruct the individual from being infected by the virus that are not harmful and poisonous to the individual. The medications that can be used have serious damaging effects to the individual.

 

The immune-deficient condition can be reversed with the use of plasma exchange to increase the elimination of the restorative agents that exposes the individual to the risk of suffering from PML. For HIV-connected PML, starting anti-retroviral therapy straight away would be beneficial to the majority of people. Many fresh drugs that were found by laboratory tests to be efficient against infection are being utilized in PML patients with particular authorization of the FDA. Studies are currently being conducted on the use of Hexadecyloxypropyl-Cidofovir (CMX001) to treat JVC due to the fact that it is able to repress JVC by restraining the reproduction of viral DNA.

 

Tuberculosis and HIV

 

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that can be transferred from one person to the other. TB is caused by bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The TB bacteria usually spreads through the air, thus it is an air-borne disease. Individuals infected with HIV frequently suffer from tuberculosis (TB). This is due to the fact that HIV makes their immune system weak. This makes it difficult for their body to fight TB causing bacteria. TB commonly affects the lung of the individual, but it can sometimes affect other parts of the body like the brain, the kidneys, or the spine as well. TB can result in the death of the individual if not properly managed.

 

How the TB Disease Spreads

 

TB bacteria pass from an individual to the other through the air. TB germs are transferred to the air when an individual suffering from TB coughs, sneezes, laughs, or sings. Individuals that are close to him or her may inhale the germs and get infection. TB doesn’t spread by sharing cutleries or cups or sharing saliva during kisses.

 

Not all the people that have TB infection get sick. Some people infected have the germs in their lung in a latent or dormant form. Individuals who have latent infections don’t show TB symptoms. They don’t also transfer it to others. Nevertheless, they can suffer from TB disease eventually, particularly if they are HIV positive. To stop the infection from escalating into TB disease, individuals with latent TB infection are placed on medication.

 

On the other hand, individuals with TB disease have many active TB germs in their body. They commonly experience the symptoms of TB disease which can include extreme tiredness, weight loss, fever, and night sweats. It can also include cough, chest pain, and they may cough up blood. They may experience a few more symptoms, depending on which part of their body is infected.

 

Why it is Essential to Test for TB and HIV

 

It is essential for individuals with HIV to test for TB infection because HIV makes their immune system weak, which could expose them to TB risk.

 

A weak immune system could make a latent TB germ develop into TB disease very fast. This is why it is very essential as an individual with HIV, which is associated with a weak immune system. Also, if you have either latent TB infection or TB disease and do not know your HIV status, you need to also get tested for HIV to assist your doctor in knowing the best way to treat your TB and HIV infections.

 

TB Tests

 

TB test can be conducted either through blood test or through the skin test. For a TB skin test, the medical team makes use of a tiny needle to put the fluid, known as tuberculin, immediately under your skin. This is normally carried out on the lower inner part of your arm. After the test is done, you need to return within two to three days to check if you reacted to the test. If there is a reaction, the amount of the reaction is estimated to find out if you are positive for the TB germs.

 

For the TB blood test, a sample of your blood is drawn to conduct the test. Your health care provider would inform you how you can get the result of your test.

 

If Your TB Test is Positive

 

If you are positive of TB, either through the blood test or through the skin test, what it means is that you are infected with the TB germs. It doesn’t imply you have a TB disease. To confirm if you have TB disease or not, you’d usually be required to take a chest x-ray or sputum (phlegm) sample test.

 

What Happens if the Test Result Shows You Have Latent TB Infection or TB Disease?

 

Both latent TB infection and TB disease can be managed with medication even in people living with HIV. If you have latent TB infection and HIV, your risk for developing the disease is greater. You’d require fast treatment for latent TB infection to prevent TB disease. If you have TB disease, you have to take drugs that treat TB disease. If it is not treated, your health may deteriorate and you’ll die eventually.

 

Prevalence of HIV/TB Coinfection

 

TB disease is one of the most common causes of death among individuals with HIV. In the United States, due to wise availability of HIV medications, the number of individual with HIV who contracts TB as well is significantly lower than what is obtained in other countries where the medication use is not as widespread. However, TB patients, particularly those born outside US, frequently still suffer from TB.

 

Symptoms of TB

 

Individuals with latent TB don’t experience any disease symptoms. However, if latent TB develops to TB disease, there will normally be signs of the disease.

 

Regular symptoms of TB disease are:

 

  • A constant cough which may result in coughing out blood or sputum
  • exhaustion
  • weight loss
  • Fever
  • Night sweats

 

Other symptoms of TB disease may vary depending on the parts of the body affected. For instance, signs of TB infection of the kidneys may contain blood in the urine, and symptoms of TB infection of the spine may contain back pain.

 

What is the Treatment for TB?

 

TB treatment in HIV patients is commonly the same as the medication used for individuals who are not HIV positive. TB drugs are used for the prevention of latent TB from developing into TB disease and for the treatment of TB disease. The medicine chosen together with TB medication and the duration of treatment depends on whether an individual has latent TB or TB disease.

 

Pneumocystis Infections

 

Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia was originally referred to as Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia or PCP. It is an opportunistic infection of the lungs. It is the most common cause of pneumonia and death in AIDS patients. PCP can frequently be prevented with the use of antibiotics.

 

Pneumocystis jirovecii is a small fungus that lives in the lungs of a number of people. When an individual has a strong immune system it will control the fungus, but if an individual has a weak immune system, the fungus can make the individual very sick. However, it can now be treated. The treatment is most effective if the individual starts it early.

 

In the US, individuals with HIV/AIDS can hardly contract PCP today than what it used to be in the past, prior to the introduction of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Nevertheless, PCP is still a significant problem against public health and safety. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) is a lung infection caused by a fungus. PCP exists in individuals who have weak immune systems together with individuals with HIV. The initial signs of this infection are breathing difficulty, high fever, and dry cough.

 

Preventive treatment is extremely efficient for preventing this kind of pneumonia and it is a good idea for all individuals who have low T cell count (normally less than 200 cells per microL), previous sufferers of PCP pneumonia, or a mouth yeast infection known as thrush.

 

People who start to receive antiretroviral therapy for HIV may stop taking their PCP preventive therapy when their T cell count is above 200 cells per microL for at least three months.

 

Nevertheless, long-term preventive treatment may be essential if an individual develops PCP when the T cell count was higher than 200 cells per microL. Previously, the causative organism of PCP (Pneumocystis jirovecii) is classified by scientists as Protozoan but currently, it is classified as a fungus.

 

Causes

 

In individuals with a weak immune system, the cause of this pneumonia may be the same causative factor that causes it in healthy individuals, but the cause of this type of pneumonia is more frequently uncommon causative factors. Frequently, P. jirovecii pneumonia is the first symptom that an individual with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is already infected by AIDS.

 

Other fungi like Aspergillus and Candida; bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Haemophilus influenzae, and viruses like cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus are also causative factors of pneumonia in individuals who have a weak immune system.

 

The bacteria that cause Pneumonia may include bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae, also referred to as Pneumococcus.

 

How Does Pneumocystis Transmit?

 

PCP is a communicable disease. It is transferred from one individual to the other through the air. Pneumocystis fungus can stay in the lungs of healthy individuals, as well as in some individuals with a weakened immune system without exhibiting any symptoms. A number of individuals are exposed to the fungus in their childhood, but they probably don’t get sick because they have a strong immune system. PCP is transmitted to a person who is exposed to the sufferer of PCP or a person who carries the fungus in the lungs but without a visible sign.

 

Symptoms of PCP

 

The symptoms are usually a fever, breathing difficulty, and a dry cough. These symptoms can come fast or a bit slower in some instances. It may limit the supply of enough oxygen to the blood, which can result in serious breathing difficulty. The individual may also experience chest pain, chills, and exhaustion. Get in touch with your doctor if you suspect your symptoms are connected to PCP.

 

Who is at Risk of Suffering from PCP?

 

PCP can hardly affect healthy individuals. They could carry the fungus infection in their lungs without causing any symptoms. At any particular time, roughly 20% of people can carry the fungus. They’d normally be destroyed by a strong immune system after many months.

 

PCP is common in individuals with weak immune systems because of their body’s inability to fight against the disease. Roughly 40% of people with PCP have HIV/AIDS. The rest of the individuals who suffer from the condition are under medical treatment that lowers their immune system like:

 

  • Organ transplanting
  • Cancer of the blood
  • Inflammatory diseases or autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stem cell transplanting

 

Prevention of PCP

 

No vaccine prevents PCP. However, prescription medication like trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), also known as co-trimoxazole, can be used to prevent the occurrence. The medication is also known through the following brand names; Bactrim, Septra, and Cotrim. There are alternative medications for individuals who cannot manage TMP/SMX like dapsone, atovaquone, and pentamidine, which are aerosol taken by inhalation into the lung.

 

Individuals suffering from HIV, stem cell transplant patients, and people for a solid organ transplant have usually prescribed the medication for PCP.

 

Test and Diagnosis

 

PCP can be diagnosed through the following methods:

 

  • Chest x-ray
  • PCP can be diagnosed with Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
  • A blood test to detect β-D-glucan
  • Microscopic examination of a sputum (thick or dirty mucus) sample obtained from the lung of the individual. It can either be coughed out or obtained through a bronchoalveolar lavage.

 

Treatment

 

The most common types of treatment given for PCP are:

 

  • Antibiotics, antiviral, or antifungal drugs
  • Management of the immune system issue of the individual

 

The treatment given usually depends on the

 

  • Particular immune system issue
  • Seriousness of the condition
  • The causative organism

 

The first treatment is usually a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Viral or fungal medication may be added if the condition does not improve.

 

 

Infections can frequently happen to any person depending on several circumstances, however, in people with HIV/AIDS, infections can happen much more frequently and these can be much more severe. These are commonly referred to as opportunistic infections or OIs. As previously mentioned in the article above, HIV/AIDS tremendously affects a person’s immune system, making it less capable of fighting off infections. Several types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other organisms that don’t commonly cause infections in healthy people can ultimately make people with weakened immune systems sick, including people with HIV/AIDS. Here, we summarize a variety of the most common opportunistic infections or OIs that can affect people with HIV/AIDS. It’s essential to seek immediate medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional if you experience any symptoms. – Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T. Insight

 

The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, and sensitive health issues and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate and support directly or indirectly our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas*& New Mexico* 

 

Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T.