You’ve probably heard someone say more than once that it’s important to get tested for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) in order to detect it as quickly as possible.
However, what you may not know is that some diseases can affect the infection and become AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), which is the most severe stage and has the most serious consequences.
That’s why it’s always important to get checked regularly so you can start treatment early for a better quality of life.
In fact, according to HIV.SIN.SIDA.CHILE, with existing treatments, people living with HIV and continuing treatment until they reach an undetectable stage have no risk of transmitting the virus.
What are opportunistic diseases?
They are a group of infections and tumors (cancers) that are more common or severe in people whose defense systems are suppressed due to HIV infection.
In fact, these diseases mark the status of HIV infection:
- Mucocutaneous candidiasis: This is an infection caused by Candida albicans. It is characterized by white, painless lesions on the mouth, palate, and tongue. The esophagus may also be affected, causing pain when swallowing food or a burning sensation behind the breastbone.
- Cerebral toxoplasmosis: Symptoms of the disease, which is caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, include headache, confusion, fever and weakness in movement.
- atypical pneumonia: It is caused by Pneumocystis jiroveci and usually presents with shortness of breath, fever, cough and chest pain that worsens over time.
- tuberculosis: The disease is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis and presents with cough, fever, night sweats and weight loss.
On the other hand, it must be taken into account that HIV causes changes in the normal functioning of the defense system. Coupled with infections from Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus type 8 and other factors, it may lead to the emergence of malignant diseases such as lymphoma.
Meanwhile, Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancer caused by human herpesvirus 8. The disease affects the skin, blood vessels or lymph nodes of people with HIV.
- Cardiovascular: Treatment and the disease itself can increase the risk of conditions affecting the heart
- nervous system: HIV causes some changes at the brain level. These include asymptomatic cognitive impairment, mild neurocognitive impairment, and infection-related dementia. People with these disorders may experience difficulties and changes in memory, attention, motor skills, behavior, and more.
- kidney: This is a common complication associated with the disease, caused by HIV itself or its treatment.
- liver: People living with HIV may also be infected with hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus, which makes them more susceptible to certain liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, decompensated cirrhosis, and accelerated fibrosis.