6 HIV-related opportunistic infections
The effect of HIV is to multiply in the body and damage the immune system by making it weak so that it’s harder to fight off infections. That’s why opportunistic infections tend to take advantage. An opportunistic infection simply means an infection that takes advantage of an opportunity, such as a weakened immune system. Unfortunately, people living with HIV are more often at risk compared to those with healthier immune systems. Here are 6 examples of HIV-related opportunistic infections.
Candidiasis is a form of infection that is caused by a type of yeast. It is commonly known as thrush and it can affect your vagina, mouth, throat or lungs. People living with HIV often struggle with candida, especially around the mouth or vagina.
Invasive cervical cancer
A type of cancer that starts in your cervix and spreads out to other parts of your body.
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
Herpes is a virus that causes contagious sores around the mouth or your genitals.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects your lymph nodes or lymphoid tissues. Lymph nodes are part of your body's immune system that swells up as a sign of an infection. The ones that are usually swollen can be found in the neck (front, back, side or back of your ears), under your chin, on your armpits, as well as your groin (the area of your hip between your stomach and thigh).
TB is a bacterial infection that attacks your lungs. It is often mistaken with flu because they have similar symptoms, but they’re definitely not the same thing. TB can also invade your other organs and lead to meningitis. Read here to learn about the misconceptions of TB.
The most important thing when it comes to opportunistic infections is that you start or continue taking your ARV treatment so that your body and immune system can get stronger, and stand a chance at fighting other infections. It is also very important for you to see your nearest healthcare provider for more information and help regarding opportunistic infections when you’re living with HIV.
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