According to the latest scientific insights, AIDS is known to weaken the immune system. This same system is the one responsible for fighting off most infections in the body. Now that immune system is weakened, it means that most infections will tend to attack the body without much resistance. These are what we call opportunistic diseases (OIs). They may be due to viruses, parasites, fungi, bacteria and protozoa. Scientifically, these opportunistic infections occur after a microorganism or even a disease-causing virus succeeds in getting an opportunity to attack the host tissue after multiplying. In today’s world, individuals who test positive to HIV and AIDS often suffer from some opportunistic infections as discussed below.
Opportunistic Diseases Associated With Aids
Talking about opportunistic diseases associated with AIDS, the first group of infections that carries more weight is the bacterial infections. That is true; an infection like tuberculosis is the most common one among 90% of AIDS patients. It is usually caused be mycobacterium tuberculosis and mostly affects the lungs. That is not the only organ it affects though; it has also been proven to have severe effects on the digestive system, the brain as well as the kidney. Other types of infections of this nature include skin sepsis, recurrent bacterial pneumonia, salmonella infections which are also recurrent, bartonellosis or angiomatosis, among others.
Viruses are also some of the infections that ought not to be underrated when discussing about opportunistic diseases associated with AIDS. Today, the most known and most severe viral infection is the CMV, cytomegalovirus. It is one of the most opportunistic infections that affects the eyes, digestive tract and the lungs. According to research, if it is left untreated it could actually result to blindness. Another opportunistic virus is the HSV, herpes simplex virus, and it is known to be causing genital herpes. The most vulnerable organs to this virus are the eyes and the brain. HIV and AIDS patients who test positive to this infection could also become blind or even suffer brain damage.
Following opportunistic infections associated with AIDS are the fungal infections. The most common one is the Candida albicans that causes thrush and affects the throat and the mouth of AIDS patients. It is, however, more common and severe in small children. They tend to have painful and difficult swallowing of not only foods but also drinks. Research has shown that this opportunistic infection commonly affects the spinal cord and the brain. Other infections of this nature include aspergilosis, histoplasmosis and coccidiomycosis.
Parasitic infections are also part of the opportunistic conditions affecting patients who have tested positive to AIDS. The most common one is the pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. This condition often known as PCP is caused by a parasite called pneumocystis jirovecii. Another one that is potentially fatal and affects the brain is the toxoplasmosis that usually caused by toxoplasma gondi.
Lastly and most importantly, cancers have proved to be common opportunistic diseases within AIDS patients. Lymphoma, which are most linked to viral infections, usually affect the lymphoid tissues of patients with AIDS. The most predominant type however is the non-Hodgkin’s disease.