HIV/AIDS: Complications & Prevention


In a previous article, we talked about HIV in terms of defining its causes and various symptoms and how it is diagnosed by various diagnostic methods, and we also talked about its treatment. And in this article, we will continue to study the same disease so that we will move on to talk about the complications that it causes and ways to prevent it in order not to get HIV.

How do you prevent HIV/AIDS?

Complications of HIV/AIDS

Here are the most important complications that can be caused by HIV Infection:

1. Infection

Inflammation caused by HIV weakens the immune system, which makes a person who is a carrier of the virus vulnerable to many infectious diseases caused by germs, viruses, fungi, or parasites.

The body also becomes susceptible to certain types of cancer, but the treatment of HIV with antiretroviral drugs has significantly reduced the number of opportunistic infections and various types of cancer that attack patients infected with the virus.

It can be assumed that these infections will appear in people who have not received any treatment, they include the following:

  • Bacterial infections

Many germs can lead to bacterial pneumonia, which can arise spontaneously due to contamination of the lung itself or as a result of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract due to cold or flu.

  • Mycobacterium Avium Complex – MAC

It is an inflammation caused by a group of microflora these bacteria usually cause inflammation of the respiratory tract, but if HIV has reached its advanced stages and the T-lymphocyte count has dropped below 50, it is more likely to arise multisystem inflammation capable of infecting almost any internal organ of the body, including the bone marrow, liver, spleen.

This inflammation causes a set of symptoms, such as high body temperature, night sweats, weight loss, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

  • Tuberculosis - TB

Tuberculosis in developing countries is the most widespread opportunistic infection associated with HIV Infection, and tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among AIDS patients. Millions of people around the world are infected with these two diseases together, and many experts consider the two infections as twin epidemics, because there is a deadly symbiotic relationship between AIDS and tuberculosis, as each stimulates the emergence of the other.

A person with AIDS is more susceptible to tuberculosis infection, and the risk of transmission of his AIDS virus from a dormant virus to an active virus increases.

Tuberculosis also increases the frequency and rate of reproduction of HIV, not to mention that tuberculosis may attack people infected with the virus many years before the appearance of any symptoms that would indicate AIDS infection, as the sudden appearance of tuberculosis outside the lungs is often one of the initial symptoms of AIDS Infection.

If the tests show that a person carries HIV, then it is recommended to immediately undergo a TB screening test, and if the result of the TB test is positive, then imaging of the lungs and other necessary tests are recommended to detect whether tuberculosis is dormant or active.

If the disease is ineffective, several medical treatments will prevent the disease from turning into an effective disease, as tuberculosis is a disease of greater concern and more severe than other opportunistic diseases due to being a very contagious disease.

  • Enteritis caused by salmonella bacteria

This infectious inflammatory disease is transmitted through contaminated water or food, the symptoms of which include: severe diarrhea, high body temperature, chills, abdominal pain and sometimes vomiting.

Although everyone who is exposed to salmonella bacteria gets sick, it is more common in carriers of HIV, where it is possible to reduce the risk of contracting the disease by washing hands thoroughly after contact with food or animals and paying attention to cooking meat and eggs as they should.

2. Viral infections 

Which include the following:

  • Cytomegalovirus - CMV

This is a common virus that causes herpes, as it is transmitted mainly through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, semen, and breast milk.

A healthy immune system can neutralize this virus, turning it into an inactive virus in the body, but when the immune system is weak, the virus becomes active and may cause damage to the eyes, digestive tract, lungs, and other organs of the body.

This virus causes infections in the retina of the eye and if such inflammation in the eye is not treated it can worsen to the point of total blindness.

  • Hepatitis

Symptoms of viral hepatitis include yellowing of the whites of the eyes, i.e. jaundice, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea, there are several types of viral hepatitis.

Hepatitis of the two types viral hepatitis B and viral hepatitis C may lead to chronic and persistent inflammation, which increases the risk of developing long-term complications, such as cirrhosis or cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer.

If a person carries HIV and has contracted viral hepatitis, then he may be at risk of future liver poisoning as a result of the medications he will have to take to treat that disease.

  • Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

The herpes simplex virus that causes the appearance of herpes in the genitals is most often transmitted when having unprotected anal or oral sex.

The initial symptoms of this disease include: pain or irritation and itching in the genital areas, later blisters with fluid that burst and bleed appear in the genital areas, the butt, and around the anus.

Although these wounds usually heal on their own, the virus reappears periodically, causing the same symptoms over and over again, and if someone is a carrier of HIV, the skin inflammation caused by the herpes simplex virus is likely to be more severe and dangerous than it can be in healthy people, and it may sometimes take longer for the wound to heal.

His general herpes symptoms are also likely to be more serious, as although herpes is a disease that is not life-threatening, in serious cases it can lead to blindness or brain damage.

  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

This virus is one of the most widespread viruses among sexually transmitted viruses, some types of this virus cause the appearance of simple warts and other types of it may cause the appearance of warts in the genital area.

If a person is a carrier of HIV, he is more likely to get an infection caused by the papillomavirus, in addition to an increased likelihood of getting frequent infections caused by this virus.

Inflammation caused by the papillomavirus poses a particularly great danger to women because it increases the likelihood of developing cervical cancer.

The combination of HIV and HPV together significantly increases the degree of risk in women, as cervical cancer has been found to attack women who are carriers of the AIDS virus more seriously and fatally.

In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration approved for the first time the use of a vaccine against the most dangerous types of papillomavirus.

This vaccine is effective mainly when given to girls before they start having sexual relations, but it is also effective for young women up to the age of 26 who have regular sexual relations.

However, if this vaccine is not suitable for a woman who is HIV-positive or has unprotected sexual relations with a large number of partners, she should undergo a cervical cancer screening test called the Papanicolaou test once a this test, cells taken from the cervix are examined to exclude the possibility of cervical cancer, papilloma, or other sexually transmitted diseases. 

Every man who has anal sex is recommended to undergo a special examination to detect cancer in the anus since the papillomavirus increases the risk of developing this cancer in both men and women alike.

  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)

The symptoms and initial signs of this disease vary from case to case and include difficulties in speaking, weakness on one side of the body, loss of vision in one or both eyes or loss of sensation in one limb.

As for viral meningitis, it appears only when the immune system is significantly damaged.

  • Hemangioma

This inflammation is caused by a virus called (Bartonella henselae) its initial symptoms are purple to red spots that appear on the skin, the symptoms are very close to the symptoms of Kaposi's sarcoma but it can spread to other areas and organs in the body, including the liver and spleen.

3. Fungal infections

They include the following:

  •  Candidiasis

Candidiasis is one of the most common infections for AIDS patients, candidiasis causes a thick white layer to develop over the membrane of the mouth, tongue, esophagus, or in the vagina.

Symptoms are more severe in children in general and appear mainly in the mouth and esophagus, causing severe pain and difficulties in eating.

  • Cryptococcal Meningitis

Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, which is the sheath of the spinal cord, the brain, the container and preservative fluids of the brain and the spinal cord region, fungal meningitis is an inflammation of the central nervous system and is widespread in patients with AIDS.

This inflammation occurs as a result of a fungus found in the soil and the fungus is also present in the secretions of birds and bats, the symptoms of this inflammation include headache, high body temperature, neck stiffness, and excessive sensitivity to light.

It is possible to treat cryptococcal meningitis with antifungal drugs, but early detection and treatment are the basis of healing.

Meningitis is a very serious disease that may cause very difficult complications and complications, and may even cause death even within a short period, and in case of infection with this inflammation should undergo long-term drug treatment to ensure that the disease does not recur in the future.

4. Parasitic infections

Which include the following:

  •  Pneumocystis Carinii Pneumonia (PCP)

Although treatment with antiretroviral drugs has proven its ability to reduce the number of patients with pneumonia of this type, this disease remains one of the most widespread among patients with AIDS in the United States.

This inflammation affects the lungs, causing shortness of breath, among the symptoms of which are also: incessant coughing, and high fever.

  •  Toxoplasmosis

This infection, which can sometimes cause death, is caused by a parasite called Gonococcus gondii, this parasite is spread mainly by cats.

Cats infected with the parasite transmit the disease through feces or the transmission to other animals, and humans are infected with this parasite in general when they touch their mouths with their hands without washing them thoroughly after treating their cat bedding, or as a result of eating insufficiently cooked meat.

After exposure to it, this parasite spreads to all organs of the body, including the heart, eyes, and lungs, and toxoplasmosis may worsen in people with AIDS or infected with it and develop into encephalitis.

Its symptoms include spatial disorientation in the sense of inability to spatial orientation, convulsions, and difficulties in walking and speech.

  • Cryptosporidiosis

An infection caused by a parasite usually found in the intestines of various animals, usually transmitted after consuming water or food contaminated with the parasite, the parasite develops in the intestines and the gallbladder ducts, causing acute and chronic diarrhea in people who are carriers of HIV.

5. Cancer

The most prominent types of cancer include the following:

  • Kaposi's sarcoma

It is a cancerous tumor that arises and develops on the walls of blood vessels and is common among carriers of HIV.

This type of cancer generally appears as purple to red spots on the skin and in the oral cavity. these spots appear dark brown or black in people with dark skin color. Kaposi's sarcoma may also affect the internal organs of the body including the digestive tract and lungs.

Scientists are continuing to search for new combinations of chemotherapy drugs to treat this type of cancer, in parallel they are also looking for modern ways of administering these drugs.

As with most opportunistic AIDS-related infections, the use of antiretrovirals has reduced the spread of this type of cancer, as well as reduced the number and size of visible wounds in people who have been infected with it.

  • Non - Hodgkin's lymphoma

The source of this cancer is in lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell, where lymphocytes are concentrated in the myeloid, lymph glands, spleen, gastrointestinal tract, and skin, and this lymphoma usually begins in the lymph nodes, although it can begin in any organ of the body.

Its initial symptoms include unaccompanied swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck area and the armpit.

6. Other complications

The most prominent complications include the following:

  • Lose weight

The adoption of strict treatment programs has reduced the phenomenon of weight loss in AIDS patients, but this symptom still affects many patients and weight loss is defined as a loss of more than 10% of body weight, which is often accompanied by diarrhea, chronic weakness, and high body temperature.

  • Neurological complications

Although HIV does not attack nerve cells, it can lead to neurological complications, such as confusion, memory loss, behavioral changes, depression, anxiety, and difficulty walking.

One of the most widespread neurological symptoms is dementia, which leads to behavioral changes and limits the functioning of the brain.

Prevention of HIV/AIDS

There is still no effective vaccine that protects against HIV infection, and there is still no cure for AIDS.

But everyone can protect himself and others from HIV infection by studying and understanding it and refraining from everything that would expose him to HIV-contaminated secretions, such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.

1. Tips for preventing infection of the disease for non-infected

People who are not infected with HIV may benefit from the following tips to prevent and prevent infection:

  • Self-awareness and guidance of others.

Awareness of the status of the partner in any sexual relationship Gonococcus gondiiwith HIV and AIDS.

  • The need to use a new condom when having a sexual relationship.
  • Examination of the possibilities of male circumcision.
  • The need to use clean syringes.
  • Use extreme caution when dealing with blood products from certain countries.
  • Conduct tests to detect the disease periodically and consistently.
  • Stay away from indifference.

2. Ways to prevent transmission of infection

For people who are HIV-positive or have AIDS, the following tips can help prevent transmission of the infection to other people:

  • The need to practice safe sex only by preventive means.
  • The need to inform the partner about the fact of infection with HIV.
  • The need to inform people, including the partner, for whom it is important to know the truth.
  • Refrain from using needles, syringes, or other people's injection tools.
  • Refrain from donating blood or donating organs.
  • Refrain from using other people's razors or toothbrushes.
  • Get immediate medical treatment in case of pregnancy.

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