Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is more popularly known by its acronym AIDS. The disease affects the immune system of the body through the Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome Virus also known as HIV. This condition is the set of infections that the human body develops as its immune system weakens. Here is a partial list of the opportunistic infections that a person weakened by the HIV virus may become susceptible to.
The lungs of HIV infected patients are commonly seen to develop pneumocystis pneumonia which is rare in healthy people. This was one of the primary causes of death from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome till effective diagnosis and treatments were developed. The second pulmonary region based infection is tuberculosis.
The reason why it is all the more dangerous is that it can be transmitted to people who are not infected through the respiratory system. It is easy to diagnose but difficult to treat even after being identified.
The lining of the esophagus often gets inflamed resulting in esophagitis in HIV infected individuals. The infection at the lower end of the gullet leading to the stomach can be caused by fungal or viral pathogens.
Another frequently heard complaint is chronic diarrhea in individuals suffering from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The diarrhea could be bacterial in origin or may be the side effect of the string drugs being used to treat the patient for other infections. The condition of the patient may be so weak that even regular prescribed antibiotics may cause the diarrhea to escalate.
Neurological infections of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
The nervous system is open to attack when the body is infected by the HIV virus. The AIDS dementia complex is a disease where the neurological impairments can be manifested in cognitive, behavioral and motor abnormalities. The brain can also be affected by a single cell parasite named Toxoplasma gondii which can also spread infection to the eyes and lungs. Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy or PML is another neurological disease that sees the stepwise destruction of the myelin sheath that covers the axons of the nerve cells.
This makes the transmission of nerve impulses faulty. It is caused by a virus and effectively shuts down the nervous system of the patient. It can cause death within months of being diagnosed.
Tumors and cancer
In a person suffering from AIDS, there is much higher instance of malignant cancer causing tumors. Furthermore the weakened state of the patient makes them unable to fight the cancerous cells. They are also too weak to be able to undergo traditional treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy or eradication surgery.
Once infected with any of the above mentioned illnesses, the lowered immunity of the body is unable to fight off the disease and is said to be inflicted with HIV. A person infected with the HIV virus may live a long and healthy life as long as they do not get any of these additional infections which can lead to a full blown case of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. In this case prevention is better than cure and it would be wise to follow all the precautions possible to not get infected by the AIDS virus.