What are they and what are opportunistic infections?

What are opportunistic infections?

bacteria-67659In our bodies, we carry many microorganisms - bacteria, protozoa, fungi and viruses. When our immune system is working, it controls these germs. But when the immune system is weakened by HIV disease or some medications, those germs can get out of control and cause health problems.

Infections that take advantage of the weakness of immune defenses are called "opportunistic." The phrase "opportunistic infection" is often abbreviated to "IO."

OI rates have dropped dramatically since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy; however, IOs are still a problem, especially for people who have not been tested for HIV. Many people only come to a hospital with a serious IO, often Pneumocystis or pneumocystis (pneumonia). This is the way they discover they have HIV infection, in these cases, already as AIDS disease. Editor's note: Pneumocystis is a serious condition of very serious proportions and the least suspicious (yes you can evaluate with the ear on the back of the person if the chest is full and associate with a thermometer. thirty-nine (39) degrees, nearest emergency room immediately

Testing for IOs

You can be infected with an IO, and "test positive" even though you do not have the disease. For example, almost all are reagents Cytomegalovirus (CMV). but it is very rare that this disease develops, unless D4 count falls below 50, a sign of serious damage to the immune system.

To diagnose your see if you are infected with an IO, your blood needs to be tested for antigens (pieces of germs that are generated by IO) or for screening for antibodies (proteins made by the immune system to fight germs). If the antigens are found, it means that you are infected. If the antibodies are found, you have been exposed to the infection. You may have been immunized against the infection or your immune system may have "cleared" the infection, or you may have been infected. If you are infected with a germ that causes an IO, and if your CD4 cells are low enough to allow IO to develop, your healthcare provider will look for signs of active disease. These are different for different IOs.


IOs and AIDS

People who are not infected with the HIV virus can develop IOs if their immune systems are compromised. For example, many drugs used to treat cancer suppress the immune system; so some people who get cancer treatments can develop IOs.

HIV weakens the immune system so they can develop opportunistic infections. If you are infected with HIV and develop opportunistic infections, you may have AIDS.

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responsible for deciding who has AIDS. The CDC has developed a list of about 24 opportunistic infections. If you have HIV and one or more of these "official" IOs, then you have AIDS. The list is available on the The Body. Note the editor, this link opens in a new window and you can go there without having to get out of here.


In the early years of the AIDS epidemic, IOs caused a wave of unprecedented enormity of disease and deaths, except for the proportionally smallpox crisis that devastated Europe in the 14th and 15th centuries. Once people started receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), however, far fewer people developed IOs. It is not clear how many people with HIV develops a certain IO.

In women, health problems in the vaginal area may be early signs of HIV. These may include pelvic inflammatory disease and bacterial vaginosis, among others. See Sheet of fact 610 For more information.

The most common IOs are listed here, along with the disease they usually cause and the CD4 cell count when the disease becomes active:

  • Thrush () is a fungal infection of the mouth, throat or vagina. CD4 Cell Range: Can occur even with fairly high CD4 cells. SeeSheet of fact 501.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a viral infection that causes eye disease that can lead to blindness [Editor's note: Treacherous disease that causes retinal detachment. Although I ran away from the scope of the text, I had a friend who went out with me from the hospital and gave me a ride to the support house. Well, only with the car at 70KM / h did she tell me she did not see with her right eye - My longing Cecilia, I still smile when I remember it]. CD4 Cell Range: Under 50. See Sheet of fact 504.
  • Herpes simplex virus can cause oral herpes (cold sores) or genital herpes. These infections are quite common, but if you have HIV, outbreaks can be much more frequent and more serious. They can occur in any CD4 cell count. See Sheet of fact 508.
  • Malaria is common in the developing world. It is more common and more serious in people with HIV infection.
  • Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC or AMI) is a bacterial infection that can cause recurrent fevers, problems, intestinal problems with digestion and severe weight loss. CD4 Cell Range: Under 50. See Sheet of fact 514.
  • Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is a fungal infection that can cause fatal pneumonia. CD4 cell range: in 200. See Sheet of fact 515.Unfortunately, this is still quite common in people who have not been tested or treated for HIV. [EDITOR SUPPORTS: Test for the love you have for your life and your family!]
  • Toxoplasmosis (Toxo) is a protozoal infection of the brain. CD4 cell range: in 100. See Sheet of fact 517.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that attacks the lungs and can cause meningitis. CD4 cell interval: Everyone with HIV who has positive tests for TB exposure should be treated. See Sheet of fact 518.

Prevention of IOs

Most of the germs that cause IOs are quite common and you may already be carrying several of these infections. You can reduce the risk of new infections by staying clean and avoiding known sources of germs that cause IOs.

Even if you are infected with some IOs, you can take medications that will prevent the development of the active disease - this is called chemoprophylaxis, and in a simple example, a doctor prescribes a low dose of an antibiotic just to maintain an environment (your body ) "Chemically hostile" to invaders. This is called prophylaxis. The best way to avoid IOs is to take strong TARV measures. See Sheet of fact 403 For more information about ART.



For each IO, there are specific drugs or combinations of drugs that seem to work best. See the fact sheets for each IO to learn more about how they are treated. Guidelines for treatment and prevention of OIs can be found in English guide treatment of opportunistic infections (It is in English, we do not intend to translate as it is not relevant to us. And it breaks, opens in another window) and choosing "Prevention and Treatment of opportunistic infections guidelines."

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can allow a damaged immune system to recover and do a better job of fighting IOs. 481 fact sheet on Immune Restore has more information on this topic.

Editor's Note. They can get a good number, and if there was no loss of at least one last element of what I call the immune team, vc will be protected and increasingly protected. It is also important to test yourself for HIV, because once you discover the infection, reduces the possibility of getting lost many, if any, of these specialized teams to fight this or that etiological agent

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