Opportunistic Infections HIV/AIDS, Appears When the Immune System Weakens


Opportunistic infections are ongoing diseases that arise due to the decreased immune system of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). HIV/AIDS destroys CD4, the part of white blood cells that play a role in immunity. If the “gate of defense” is paralyzed, then viruses, bacteria, and fungi from outside the body are easy to infect.

Until now, drugs that can cure HIV / AIDS have not been found. ARV therapy has proven to be effective in suppressing the growth of the virus, if the patient does it regularly.

Opportunistic infections can arise when the body’s CD4 cell declines. What opportunistic infections can arise? How to prevent it? Come on, see the following reviews.

1. Tuberculosis (TB)
One of the opportunistic infections of HIV/AIDS is tuberculosis (TB), a disease that attacks the lungs spread by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. TB is transmitted by sprinkling phlegm ( droplets ) from sufferers. Currently, Indonesia is in third place with 824 thousand patients.

What are the characteristics of TB in adults? Reported by the Mayo Clinic page, symptoms of TB include coughing for more than 3 weeks, coughing up blood or mucus, fever, night sweats, chest pain, and weight loss. When the immunity of PLWHA decreases, this disease is easier to attack.

2. Candidiasis
Candidiasis is an opportunistic infection caused by the fungus Candida albicans . This disease can spread to the skin, mouth, and genital area. In fact, some cases of AIDS have candidiasis in the throat, bronchi, trachea, and lungs.

A study in the Scientific Journal of Indonesian Medical Students reported that candidiasis was experienced by 84 respondents out of a total of 191 respondents. Based on the journal, this opportunistic infection is mostly felt by PLWHA.

3. Herpes simplex
Genital herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV 2) through touching wounds with patients. Moreover, people living with HIV who have a decreased immune system are susceptible to this disease.

What’s more, herpes simplex cannot be cured. After drying and peeling, the sores can come back at a later time. However, the symptoms of herpes that attack the genital area can be suppressed with medication. Citing the NHS page, how to deal with herpes simplex is by routinely using antivirals and ointments.

4. Diarrhea cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidium parvum parasites that stop in the gastrointestinal tract cause cryptosporidiosis diarrhea. As a result of this parasite, the body often excretes fluids and makes PLWHA dehydrated. In vulnerable groups, diarrheal disease should not be underestimated. Precautions need to be taken so that these parasites do not stop.

How to prevent it? People living with HIV can get cryptosporidiosis diarrhea due to contaminated water or food. According to a 2015 report from the Journal of the Health System , preventive measures for cryptosporidiosis diarrhea for PLWHA include:

Wash vegetables and fruits before eating or cooking;
Take deworming medicine 2 times a year;
Wearing footwear when leaving the house;
Wash hands before eating;
Covering food so that it is not exposed to dust;
Reducing the purchase of roadside food;
Drink water that has been boiled until it boils;
Cook food until it is completely cooked.

5. Toxoplasmosis
The protozoan Toxoplasma gondii causes severe toxoplasmosis in people living with HIV. Toxoplasmosis is spread through contaminated food or undercooked meat. When CD4 decreases to less than 200 cells per microliter, toxoplasmosis will easily attack people living with HIV. Reporting from the journal Tropical Parasitology in 2016 , toxoplasmosis in PLWHA can cause physical and psychological disabilities.

That’s a glimpse of the opportunistic infection HIV/AIDS. However, there are still other opportunistic infections that have not been mentioned. So that opportunistic infections do not attack, prevention is needed by adhering to ARV therapy, washing vegetables and fruit thoroughly, practicing healthy sex principles, using personal towels, exercising regularly, and meeting fluid needs by drinking boiled water.