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 by some medications, these germs can get out of control and cause health problems.

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

The IOs rates have fallen dramatically since the introduction of antiretroviral therapy; however, IOs are still a problem, especially for persons who were not tested for HIV. Many people only come to the hospital with severe OI, often pneumonia or pneumocystis pneumonia (pneumonia). This is the way they discover they have HIV infection in these cases, since as AIDS disease. Editor's note: The pneumocystis pneumonia is a serious disease of very serious proportions and the slightest suspicion (yes u can assess the ear in the person back to the "breast is full" and join a thermometer SE get to spend a tenth of. thirty-nine (39º) degrees, the nearest emergency room immediately

Testing for OIs

You can be infected with an OI, and "test positive", although you do not have the disease. For example, almost all of the reagents are tests forCytomegalovirus (CMV).but it is very rare for this disease to develop unlessD4 count falls 50 below, a signal extremely serious damage to the immune system.

To diagnose your see if you are infected with an OI, your blood must be tested for antigens (germ fragments that are generated by IO) or for antibodies (proteins made by the immune system to fight germs). If the antigens are found, it means that you are infected. If antibodies are found, you have been exposed to infection. You may have been immunized against 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 OI, and if your CD4 cells are low enough to allow the IO can develop, your health care provider will look for signs of active disease. These are different for the different OIs.


IOs and AIDS

People who are not HIV-infected can develop OIs 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 OIs.

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

In the US, the Center 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 diseases "official" OIs, then you have AIDS. The list is available inThe 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, OIs caused a wave of unprecedented enormity of disease and deaths, except, proportionately speaking, smallpox crisis that ravaged Europe of Century XIV and XV. Once people started receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), however, far fewer people developed IOs. It is not clear how many people with HIV develops a particular 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. seeIndeed sheet 610For more information.

The most common OIs are listed here, along with the disease that commonly cause and CD4 cell count when the disease becomes active:

  • The Thrush candidiasis ()It is a fungal infection of the mouth, throat or vagina. CD4 cell range: can occur even with fairly high CD4 cells. seeIndeed sheet 501.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)It is a viral infection that causes eye disease that can lead to blindness [Editor's note: insidious disease that causes retinal detachment. Although flee rather the scope of the text, I had a friend who went with me to the hospital and that gave me a ride to the home support. Well, only the car 70KM / h she warned me that did not see with his right eye - My wistful Cecilia, still get to smile when I remember that]. CD4 cell range: Under 50. seeIndeed sheet 504.
  • herpes simplex viruscan cause oral herpes (cold sores) or genital herpes. These infections are fairly common, but if you have HIV, the outbreaks can be much more frequent and more severe. They can occur at any CD4 cell count. seeIndeed sheet 508.
  • malariaIt is common in developing world. It is more common and more severe in people with HIV infection.
  • Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC or MAI)It is a bacterial infection that can cause recurrent fevers, problems, intestinal, problems with digestion and severe weight loss. CD4 cell range: Under 50. seeIndeed sheet 514.
  • The Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)It is a fungal infection that can cause fatal pneumonia. CD4 cell range: in 200. seeIndeed sheet 515.Unfortunately, this is still a fairly common OI in people who have not been tested or treated for HIV [The Supplication EDITOR: Testem It is the love that has their lives and families sus!].
  • Toxoplasmosis (Toxo)It is a protozoal infection of the brain. CD4 cell range: in 100. seeIndeed sheet 517.
  • Tuberculosis (TB)It is a bacterial infection which attacks the lungs and can cause meningitis. CD4 cell range: all with HIV who have tested positive for exposure to TB should be treated. seeIndeed sheet 518.

Prevention of OIs

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

Even if you are infected with some OIs, you can take medications that prevent the development of active disease - this is called chemoprevention, and a simple example, a doctor prescribes a low dose of an antibiotic just to maintain an environment (your body ) "chemically Hostile" the invaders. This is called prophylaxis. The best way to prevent OIs is to take strong measures ART. seeIndeed sheet 403For more information on ART.



For each OI, there are specific drugs or drug combinations that seem to work best. See the fact sheets for each OI to learn more about how they are treated. The guidelines for treatment and prevention of OIs can be found at English guide treatment of opportunistic infections (Is in English, we do not intend to translate because it's not relevant to us. And breaking, opens in new 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 OIs.481 fact sheet on Immune Restoration 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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